Alan Klatsky, left, president of Prestige Development, will… (Baltimore Sun photo by Amy…)
A raffle of a $1.6 million house in Baltimore County sounded good to some people - enough to sell 12,000 tickets at $100 a pop. But organizers needed about 20,000 ticket sales to make it worthwhile, and they were hoping for 35,000.
So: no raffle.
Reader Steve Scarborough told me he got a refund for the two tickets he bought, but "they kept $5.96 per ticket."
"I suppose that could add up to a tidy profit for them even if they only sold half of the 35,000 tickets," he wrote in an e-mail. "I may want to look into an opportunity like this."
But the charity that organized the raffle says it didn't keep that money. Bob Brantley, president of the Universal Peacemakers Foundation in Upperco, said one of the online credit-card processors he used charged a refund fee. "We'll do our very best" to reimburse ticket buyers who prove that their $100 came back with a bite out of it, he said.
Because Universal Peacemakers didn't exercise its option to keep $1 of each ticket sold as a processing fee, "we got no funds at all out of this," Brantley added. Instead, the raffle turned out to be a money-losing proposition for the small nonprofit - though how much won't be clear until he sees how many people want their credit-card fee refunded.
"We'll cover it somehow," he said. "We don't want anyone to feel like they were mistreated."
The raffle, originally scheduled for last fall, was pushed off until February to give people more time to buy tickets. But that wasn't time enough.
"The economy's pretty rough," Brantley said. "That was a major factor."
This is by no means the first home raffle that has failed to get off the ground. Food Link, for example, canceled a 2008 raffle fundraiser for an Anne Arundel County house. Executive Director Cathy Holstrom said that "it's a lot more complicated than it sounds. We actually lost a lost of money."
So what happens to the 6,200-square-foot mansion in Phoenix with 16-foot ceilings, a gourmet kitchen and his-and-hers marble bath in the master suite?
The home builder is opting for the route many sellers take. He's putting it on the market in the spring.
"A second model home is also planned for this summer as well," said Alan Klatsky, president of Prestige Development Inc.