Ruling favors group in gaming dispute

November 19, 1996


Staff Writer

While Todd Educational Foundation Inc. won the latest round Monday in the continuing wrangle with Washington County officials over gaming regulations, it was an empty victory with no prize.

Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell ruled that the Washington County Commissioners couldn't raise the issue of whether Todd Educational is a bonafide tax-exempt organization since it had abandoned that argument months ago in another hearing.

In the meantime, however, the foundation has received its long-awaited 501C tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service, effective as of Sept. 5, 1996, according to Todd's attorney, Kent Krabbe.


But now that the gaming statute has been amended, Todd no longer has tip jar money to distribute because it all goes to the gaming commission now.

The whole issue arose over who had the right to administer $260,000 in tip jar funds collected by Todd Education between July 1, 1995, and June 30, 1996. That money had been in escrow until last August when it was distributed by court order.

In making the decision to release those funds three months ago, McDowell also ruled against the County Commissioners and the Washington County Gaming Commission.

McDowell reminded both attorneys of that fact Monday and wondered aloud if the whole argument wasn't moot.

In August, 60 percent of the $260,000 - or $156,000 - was given to charities, and 40 percent - or $104,000 - went to fire and rescue organizations.

Similar funds previously had been released for distribution by another nonprofit group, the Washington County Restaurant and Beverage Association, when that organization's nonprofit status was finalized, according to court records.

Todd Educational Foundation Inc. is an offshoot of Todd Amusements, a major wholesaler of gaming equipment and supplies in Washington County.

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