(KMOV) – A $1.8 million Chesterfield home featured in a highly-advertized St. Louis Dream House Raffle turned out to be a hoax, according to the Better Business Bureau.
Frank “Bud” Miceli, who owns the home, told the BBB the Colorado charity that sponsored the raffle told him it did not sell enough tickets to buy the house and award it a winner. The National Wheelchair Basketball Association sponsored the raffle.
BBB officials on March 26 told the public about a contest rule that said the house would not be awarded unless at least 45,000 tickets were sold. If fewer tickets were sold, the grand prize would be a lesser cash prize based on ticket sales.
“While that disclosure was included among a listing of rules and regulations on the St. Louis raffle website, it was not mentioned in a raffle advertising and marketing campaign that reached thousands of homes in Missouri and Illinois,” the BBB said in a statement.
On Feb. 14, an NWBA news release began: “Some lucky person with a $150 raffle ticket will win an exquisite $1.8 million St. Louis dream home or $1.3 million cash.” The organization also released an 8-page brochure showing several photographs of the home, one of which said “Win this $1.8 Million St. Louis Dream House or choose $1.3 million in cash.” The NWBA later released a statement
“Neither the brochure nor the news release disclosed that awarding the house was contingent on ticket sales. Both marketing pieces referred ticket buyers to the raffle website,” said the BBB.
Former Cardinals great Ozzie Smith was also featured as raffle spokesperson in some advertising.
The BBB has also criticized the NWBA for what it sees as a “continuing and troubling lack of transparency” surrounding the raffle.
The grand prize drawing was held on June 8 and the NWBA has yet to tell the public how it spent proceeds from the raffle.
The BBB has since requested the charity provide who won the grand prize and a breakdown of how the money raised was spent.
“I just optioned my house and kept my fingers crossed that it was going to work out,” Miceli said. “If I had it to do over, I don’t know if I would.”