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Elk River’s Unique ‘Ice Break 2011′ Fundraiser Shut Down

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By Lindsey Seavert, WCCO-TV

ELK RIVER (WCCO) — These days, organizations will do just about anything to keep their budgets from hitting thin ice. The Elk River Chamber of Commerce came up with a fundraiser that involved putting a car out on a frozen lake. Now, however, they have to think of another unique way to raise money.

People could buy a ticket for $20 to predict when a Pontiac Grand Prix would fall through melting Lake Orono, but now the entire contest has sunk instead.

On Tuesday, Chamber President Debbie Rydberg was confident in the chamber’s plans.

“We’re trying to raise $8,000,” said Rydberg.

On Wednesday, however, Rydberg announced she canceled the event after investigators with the Minnesota Gambling Control Board say the raffle didn’t legally meet state requirements.

The Chamber of Commerce says it started with a complaint, which Rydberg addresses in this statement:

“The chamber executive director explained the details of the event and all the agencies that we contacted while researching this project, including a compliance officer with the Gambling Control Board. The executive director and Board of Directors believed that in moving forward they were acting responsibly. Unfortunately the investigator shared that the event did not meet all the legal requirements and that ICE BREAK 2011 needed to be discontinued immediately.”

Over at the American Legion Bingo Night, Nita Glenn was among many who bought a stake in the sales with hopes to win the $2,011 if her ticket was correct.

“It goes to a good cause,” said Glenn. “I don’t see why it should be against the law.”

The car has been brought on shore, and ticket sales have stopped. The chamber says all ticket purchases will be refunded.

The Gambling Control Board could not be reached for comment.

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