Police say Center Lovell Inn Contest Lawful
July 07, 2015 -
Lovell — An essay contest for an historic inn that drew international media attention did not violate state gaming laws, Maine State Police said Tuesday.
Department of Public Safety spokesperson Stephen McCausland said the Center Lovell Inn essay contest was determined to be a game of skill, not a game of chance, and therefore did not need a license from the state.
Earlier this month the 210-year-old inn was awarded to New York couple Rose and Prince Adams. Their essay explaining why they wanted to run the inn was chosen from thousands of contestants. Essay fees were $125 and the money was used to fund owner Janice Sage's retirement.
Following the announcement of the winner, police received 15 complaints that the game was rigged. About 100 unsuccessful contestants organized as the Center Lovell Contest Fair Practices Commission and called for an investigation.
They claimed judges favored contestants with a background operating an inn despite being advertised otherwise, because the Adamses run a restaurant in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
McCausland said in a news release Tuesday morning that the findings were made after a weeklong investigation. Sgt. Michael Johnston of the state police Special Investigation Unit reviewed the contest rules and interviewed Sage, future owners Rose and Prince Adams and two judges who reviewed the essays and ultimately chose the winner.
McCausland said state police informed the complainants of the decision on Monday. The Attorney General's Office also reviewed the findings and concluded there were no violations of the state's consumer protection laws, he said.
Sage won the inn during a similar contest in 1993, which longtime state police gaming inspector Barry Hathaway also reviewed.
Christopher Crosby, Sun Journal, July 2015
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