A Fairfax County judge cleared the Annandale Boys' Club yesterday of criminal charges that the organization failed to maintain proper records of its lucrative bingo operation.
Fairfax General District Court Judge Barbara M. Keenan ruled that Virginia's bingo games control law did not require the club to keep a perpetual record of names and addresses of bingo winners and invoices from game suppliers.
Keenan said that while there may be some dispute over the law's exact provisions, in close cases those questions must be resolved in favor of the defendant.
The county's case suffered when Larry S. Hertzog, a county auditor who examined the club's books last year, testified he was unable to recall whether the group failed to maintain complete records on April 25 and May 8, 1981, the dates county warrants charged club officials with the alleged violations.
Keenan then repeatedly blocked assistant Fairfax prosecutor Thomas E. Gallahue's efforts to introduce evidence of allegedly improper record-keeping on other dates.
After the trial, Gallahue called the state bingo games control law "vague." He said he did not know whether the county would bring further legal action against the club, which reported gross bingo receipts of $880,000 in 1980.
"I don't know what this whole thing was about myself," said Grayson P. Hanes, a Fairfax lawyer who represented the club. "The boys' club does a lot of good for the community. I sure hope they can get back to that now instead of spending all of their time in court."
Yesterday's ruling marks the club's second court victory in recent weeks against county officials seeking to penalize the organization's bingo practices.
Last month, a Fairfax Circuit Court judge reversed a decision by the County Board of Supervisors to temporarily suspend the club's permit for bingo games until a public hearing on the matter could be held. Judge James Keith restored the club's game permit until Monday, when the board holds its hearing.