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Judge blocks distribution of tip jar funds

October 23, 1997

By MARLO BARNHART

Staff Writer

Allegations that more than $100,000 in Todd Educational Fund tip jar money earmarked for local charities found its way into non-charitable corporations owned by Robert Lauver and his wife has resulted in legal action by the Washington County Gaming Commission.

Washington County Circuit Judge John H. McDowell signed a temporary restraining order on Oct. 14 preventing Todd Educational Fund, a charitable corporation headed by Robert Lauver, from distributing any more gaming money until a hearing has been held.

A hearing has been set for Oct. 31 at 1:30 p.m. in Washington County Circuit Court, court records said.

Gaming Director Kathy Sterling said the order prevents the Lauvers from transferring, selling, distributing, spending or disposing of any property, including money held in bank accounts, until the matter is settled.

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Specifically, the injunction cites:

* $16,614.75 in gaming funds that allegedly were transferred in January 1997 from Todd Educational Fund to R&R Partnership, a real estate partnership owned by Robert Lauver and his wife, Roberta.

* $13,552.17 in gaming funds that allegedly went to TCR Inc. for coin-operated baseball batting cages. TCR is a real estate holding company in which Robert Lauver and his family are owners or partners.

* $73,500 in tip jar funds received in August 1997 that have not yet been distributed.

The injunction cites irreparable harm to the integrity of the gaming fund, court records show.

Kent Krabbe, attorney for Robert Lauver, said everything has been done properly.

"We are looking forward for the opportunity to explain," Krabbe said Wednesday. "It's a matter of going through the numbers and the papers."

Krabbe acknowledged that some of the funds went into non-charitable corporations owned by the Lauvers. "Some may be in an account with that name but they were earmarked for charitable purposes."

Lauver was out of town and couldn't be reached for comment, Krabbe said.

Another hearing is scheduled for Oct. 31 in Washington County District Court over the fine money owed to the Washington County Gaming Commission by Robert Lauver.

In February, an administrative law judge fined Lauver $10,000 for a series of gaming violations that stripped him of his wholesaler's license last year.

Before the license suspension, Todd supplied between 30 and 50 taverns and restaurants with gaming devices and supplies.

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