Attorney: Church raffle for home canceled, ticket money to be refunded

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - "It was a great idea that went bad, said attorney Mark Judson.

Judson is talking about the raffle of a house at 1601 21st Street in Oak Park. It was built by Shiloh Baptist Church for the purpose of being raffled. But Judson said the raffle is being canceled because not enough tickets were sold.

"Regretfully and painfully and sadly, Shiloh Church has decided to cancel the raffle due to ticket sales. No one has 'shut this down.' I want to be very clear about that. This is a voluntary decision that was made by Shiloh Church," Judson said.

The $12,000 collected has been spent.

"The majority of that money, in fact all of that money, was used legitimately for raffle-related expenses, which they were legally entitled to do according to the Office of Charitable Gaming," he said.

Judson, with the SWLA Law Center, said over the next 90 days, they will try to devise a plan to return money to those who bought tickets unless purchasers want to donate that money.

"Frankly, the church is having difficulties and we were going to ask every purchaser to prayerfully consider a possible charitable donation to the Shiloh Baptist Church and not seek the refund," Judson said.

Shiloh is the church whose pastor, Barry Thomas, is serving time at a halfway house in connection with a shooting in 2009. His wife, Renae, said it has been hard times for the church but she stands by her husband.

"My husband is a good man; he's a good provider. He is an awesome pastor. Everyone that knows him and that knows his heart knows that he's a giver and that he will help you in any way that he can. We go forward. He has learned," she said.

The house is in the process of being sold. It was listed with Century 21 and is now under contract.

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