Charity makes pitch for unused tickets

September 22, 1994|By Jon Morgan

The United Way of Central Maryland hopes to reap some benefit from the baseball strike by encouraging corporations to turn over to the charity the refunds on unused tickets.

The idea came from Signet Bank/Maryland president Kenneth H. Trout, who has pledged to the United Way as much of the $5,800 in unused tickets as the bank can obtain. Many of the tickets have already been handed out to customers, and must be reclaimed.

"Our lending officers have been aggressive about trying to reclaim the tickets," said Gail H. Sanders, Signet's vice president of public affairs. The company has a $200,000 goal for its United Way campaign this year.

"We're trying to turn a negative situation into a positive situation," Sanders said.

United Way spokeswoman Nan Waranch said Baltimore Life Insurance Co. has also indicated it will pass along its unused ticket proceeds. Baltimore Life president Joseph E. Blair is chairman of this year's local United Way campaign.

Waranch said the charity hopes other corporations will follow suit.

Companies that do so may save themselves some taxes, according to Tom H. Regan, an assistant profes

sor of sports business at the University of South Carolina. Up to 80 percent of the cost of sports tickets can be deducted as a business expense, but that deduction is lost on refunded tickets.

However, if the money is converted into a charitable contribution,

100 percent of it is deductible, within certain limits, Regan said. For that matter, the money could be paid out in bonuses to employees -- another deductible business expense -- or put to other use, Regan said.

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