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

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.

  • DR

    What a crock. Good to see we are spending our lean tax dollars on the “Gambling Control Board” enforcement team. In tough budget times it looks like we have easy places to start cutting to save money. Get rid of these jokers so others can make money harmlessly.

  • tom

    i wonder do we pay these gambling board people with TAX money???? Sounds like we should cut them. Pay cut plus resource cut. It seem our Goverment has lost all its common sense , cut this , hey we pay $200 for a hammer were the goverment, kinda sounds like they need to clean their own house before they come to ours. Time for the goverment to CUT their wages, their HEALTH BENEFITS, that we pay for, let them pay the whole amount like we do, no breaks. Also lower there wage to what the average worker wage is, they work less than we do. Cause if they did work, i do not think the world would be where it is. Also they need to cut out the CAR LEASES< and rental agreements, buy it , FIX it, Junk it. after 15 years like a normal person has to. Goverment control cost more to enforce stuff like this than its worth.

  • Victim Du Jour

    Minnesota “Land of 10,000 party poopers”

  • Skeezer

    I think Menominie WI has been doing this for years…. Check it out

    • Menomonie Resident

      I live in Menomonie, and yes, they do this! I wonder if some little thing was just not in compliance with what they wanted…

  • KC

    WOW! It is just stunning how common sense plays such a little part in some people’s lives. I find it troubling that an official could not find a way to make this work to statisfy everyone. Time for a re-write of the gambling laws in Minnesota.

  • Tom Willard

    Several lakes ‘up north’ have done this for years with no interference. Are we still finding every excuse we can to keep every possible gambling dollar on the reservation?

  • HDC

    “it started with a complaint.” who is the jerk who complained about this? this is an event that is uniquely Minnesotan, fix the error, and let er sink!

  • Jeff

    I know Buffalo does it every year also so why don’t all these ones get shut down by people.

  • Jack

    why don’t they just sell tickets for the car…is it enviromentally ok to drop a car in a lake? Are all the fluids out of the car? I know they do this up north on some lakes but I always wondered if the car was pulled out later or left in the lake.

    • Joe

      Usually the cars are left in the lake for the fish. The cars are supposed to be stripped pretty clean so they are environmentally safe. I’m guessing something wasn’t right with the car they were using or someone just didn’t like the idea of it.

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