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May 19, 2014 at 7:53 PM

Special Olympics raffle sales miss mark for $5 million mansion prize

No one will win a $5 million waterfront mansion that had been advertised in some promotional materials as a prize in a high-profile raffle benefiting Washington’s Special Olympics athletes.

Special Olympics had come under scrutiny earlier this year for advertising the $5 million Sammamish house as the marquee prize in its $150-a-ticket “Dream House” raffle.

A Seattle Times story in February pointed out that a proviso buried in the print of the raffle contest rules said the mansion — or an alternate prize of a $4 million annuity — would only be awarded to a grand prize winner if at least 75,000 raffle tickets were sold.

Special Olympics fell short of that mark — selling about 27,500 tickets, said Dan Wartelle vice president of communications for Special Olympics Washington.

Wartelle said the fundraiser had been “a terrific success” and noted the grand prize winner will get a cash prize of between $750,000 and $1 million. More than 1,700 other prizes, including cash, cars and vacation packages also will be handed out in the drawing later this month.

After scrutiny of its contest rules, Special Olympics reworked its marketing materials and web site to clearly disclose the contest rules. “We took those comments very seriously,” Wartelle said.

He said the organization spoke with ticket buyers about the rules, and heard back “they did not feel like they were being misled.”

Special Olympics Washington supports thousands of athletes, and money raised by the group will help fund summer games at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in June. The group also will cover the costs of sending 50 athletes to New Jersey for the national games.

Comments | Topics: $5 million mansion, raffle controversy, Special Olympics Washington

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