Allied Charities of Minnesota

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  • 27 Jul 2020 10:24 | Allen Lund (Administrator)
    Brooten, Minn., divided and devastated after alleged pulltab swindle

    By John Reinan Star Tribune

    July 25, 2020 — 7:06pm

    BROOTEN, MINN. – An alleged swindle of gambling proceeds that were the main source of charitable donations for Brooten has divided and devastated the small town.

    Jana Zenner, 38, a well-known local business owner, has been charged in Stearns County District Court with felony theft by swindle. More than $135,000 in pulltab revenue disappeared during her time as president of the Brooten Commercial Club, which held the state license for charitable gambling in the city of 750 residents about 115 miles northwest of the Twin Cities.

    Zenner was convicted last month of a separate felony swindling charge in neighboring Pope County for stealing nearly $49,000 from an elderly family friend.

    Residents are having a hard time grasping the allegation that a favorite local daughter and community leader was at the center of such swindles.

    “It’s just mind-boggling. It really is,” said Randy Olson, owner of the local newspaper, the Bonanza Valley Voice. “Obviously, everyone has a bad taste in their mouth.”

    “There’s been so much damage done,” said Tony Rooney, owner of Rooney’s Bar in the village of Sedan, about 8 miles outside Brooten. “It tore our community apart. Many people are angry with her, and probably for good reason.”

    According to the court complaint, Zenner stole the pulltab money from 2016 to 2018 and “admitted she had taken the money to keep her multiple businesses in town afloat.” She also admitted burning pulltab games to destroy evidence.

    Zenner owns several businesses in town, including a liquor store, market and gift shop. A Brooten native and local high school graduate, she’s served in several leadership roles in the community.

    Zenner’s lawyer, Minneapolis defense attorney Paul Engh, said she hopes to set everything right.

    “Ms. Zenner is working to resolve this unfortunate circumstance,” Engh said, “and to make good on any losses that were incurred.”

    Zenner, Olson said, is “warm and energetic. Makes things happen. You need people like that in a small town. You need people who generate activity and excitement.”

    But the excitement Zenner has been generating of late isn’t the kind most people welcome.

    Zenner’s swindling conviction last month involved 91-year-old Gordon Hollen, a family friend she offered to help with finances after his wife died. He lived on Scandinavian Lake about 15 miles outside Brooten, where Zenner also resides.

    According to court documents, Zenner wrote large checks on Hollen’s account to herself, her husband and their businesses. She was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to do community service and make restitution.

    The charge she now faces has been much more damaging to her hometown, residents say.

    As head of the Commercial Club, Zenner presided over a downward financial spiral that left the club broke and owing more than $50,000 in state and federal taxes, with no prospect of coming up with the money.

    As recently as 2015, the club donated more than $80,000 to community groups, said Olson, who became vice president of the Commercial Club after Zenner resigned in 2018.

    Now, he said, “We had to say no to a lot of groups that came asking for donations. The club has no money, no organization, no ability to generate money.”

    Some Brooten residents are so angry that they’re buying their liquor in Belgrade, 8 miles away, rather than shopping at Rooster’s Bottle Shop owned by Zenner, said Tom Kampsen, owner of the Ka-De-Shack Bar in Brooten.

    Kampsen is among Zenner’s alleged victims. Bars that sell pulltabs get to keep a portion of the proceeds, typically 20% for regular pulltabs and 15% for e-tabs. Kampsen said his take in recent years had been in the neighborhood of $7,500 to $10,000 a year. But in 2019, he said, he received just $204 for the entire year.

    “We trusted her,” he said. “She lied to us.”

    Marcia Hallermann, owner of Marcia’s Bar & Grill in Brooten, said she began to suspect something was wrong as early as 2015. In subsequent years, she said, her payout — previously around $10,000 a year — dwindled until in 2018, it was only $897 for the year.

    “I have been in business for 30 years,” Hallermann said. “I have worked with many different gambling organizations and I have never seen anything so sad and pathetically operated in my lifetime.”

    Zenner and Michelle Halls, the Commercial Club’s former gambling manager, said the money shortages were caused by a general decline in gambling, according to Hallermann.

    “We were going on information that Jana and Michelle gave us,” Hallermann said. “They were saying, ‘Oh, pulltab is down, gambling is down.’ ”

    Hallermann raised questions about the club’s finances but said it was difficult to go up against Zenner and Halls, who were viewed as pillars of the community.

    “They were influential people,” she said. “And how can Marcia Hallermann say something, because I’m just this [person] running a little bar?”

    Halls did not respond to a request for an interview. A former compliance officer at the Bonanza Valley State Bank in Brooten, she is no longer employed there, according to a bank spokesperson.

    “Right now, when we’re in this pandemic, it would be great if we had a club with a good amount of money to share out,” Hallermann said. “We don’t have a civic group that can donate any money in our community.”

    The Brooten gambling license is now held by the relief association of the Brooten Fire Department. Chief Matt Ogdahl said the department plans to donate to community activities, but it won’t be at the same level as the Commercial Club. The department has only two pulltab locations, while the club had five. And the department also will use pulltab money for its own equipment needs.

    Hallermann questioned why state auditors didn’t catch the alleged swindle sooner. The Minnesota Gambling Control Board, which regulates charitable gambling, declined to comment.

    Even after a conviction on one swindle and a felony charge on another, many in the community still support Zenner, Olson said.

    “A lot of people to this day don’t believe any of this, people who grew up with her,” he said. “They want to believe that it was just a misunderstanding.

    “It’s a lot of money and people can’t even wrap their head around it.”

    It’s a mess, Olson said, adding that he believes charitable gambling is ripe for fraud.

    “The gambling business is based on cash,” he said, “and it’s based on trust.”


  • 26 Jun 2020 08:33 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Members,


    There is new funding available effective June 15th  from the SBA. The Disaster Relief program applies to non-profits and allows for loans, with a forgivable advance of $10,000. However, not more than 1/3 of revenues can be derived from gambling. 

     

    Here is the eligibility checklist link


    https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/  


  • 24 Jun 2020 16:45 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    June 24, 2020

    Lawful Gambling Legislation Signed by Governor Walz:  The Board’s 2020 legislation, which was passed during the Special Session, was signed into law by Governor Walz on June 23, 2020.  All but one provision are COVID-19 relief provisions.  The one non-COVID-19 provision requires the annual audit that is required to be submitted to Revenue to also be submitted to the Gambling Control Board.


    2020 Legislative Summary is attached.

     

    Survey Results on Inappropriate Lessor Pressure:  Thank you to all who responded to the Gambling Control Board’s survey in the Gaming News about various types of pressure that lessors placed on licensed lawful gambling organizations.  Alarmingly, nearly 1 in every 3 respondents experienced pressure from their lessor on the type of games to offer.

    Of the 188 respondents, the following affirmative responses were received to the six survey questions:

    1. Lessor demanded the type of games to offer at site:  52
    2. Lessor dictated which games to order from distributor:  21
    3. Lessor demanded to make deposits or other administrative gambling-related
      actions:  11
    4. Lessor pressured licensed organization to donate to a specific group:  18
    5. Lessor insisted that licensed organization hire a person at that site:  15
    6. Lessor threatened to terminate the lease:  26

    Additionally, around 30 respondents provided detailed examples of lessor pressure on their licensed organization. If any one of those 30 examples were submitted to the Board as a complaint and verified after an investigation, they may prove to be a regulatory or statutory violation.  Please remember that the Board stands ready to investigate any submitted complaint. 

    A complaint form is attached.

    While it’s appropriate to take a lessor’s suggestions into consideration, ultimate control of an organization’s lawful gambling compliance with rules and statutes lies with the gambling manager.  The licensed gambling organizations get to choose the forms of gambling offered for sale, buy games from their choice of licensed distributors, and decide who to employ in support of their organization’s lawful gambling operations.  In order to pursue the most appropriate and effective course of action, the Board plans to address, through consultations with all stakeholders, this complicated issue of inappropriate lessor pressure.

    The Board stands ready to assist all licensed lawful gambling organizations with questions or concerns about licensed organizations and their lessors to provide a lawful, safe, and fun environment for lawful gambling.

    legislative-summary-2020.pdf

    complaint-form.pdf


  • 11 Jun 2020 11:36 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Organizations that were unwilling to give their name and e-mail address may use anonymous.survey@gmail.com.  ACM explained to the GCB how anonymity is important in such surveys. Please take the time to fill out the survey. You are able to use anonymous for your name as well. 


  • 08 Jun 2020 14:13 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Members,


    Attached is the executive order allowing bars and restaurants to open Wednesday, June 10 at 50% capacity. 


    FROM THE GCB: Lawful Gambling Can Move Indoors Starting Wednesday, June 10

    Per Governor Walz’s Executive Order 20-74 starting Wednesday, June 10, 2020, bars, restaurants, and other places of public accommodation may provide indoor and outdoor service subject to certain requirements as follows:

    • Occupancy of any indoor space must not exceed 50% of normal occupancy, with a maximum of 250 people in a single, self-contained space.
    • Occupancy of any outdoor space is limited to the number for whom social distancing of 6’ can be maintained between tables, also not to exceed 250 people.
    • Workers must follow face-covering requirements set forth in applicable guidance available at the Stay Safe Minnesota website (https://staysafe.mn.gov).
    • The executive order reiterates that licensed veterans and fraternal organizations may lend gambling funds to their general fund accounts for up to one year to pay for allowable expenses necessary to reopen such organizations’ permitted premises.


    Also attached is the AMJ Gaming News from the GCB. There is a survey that organizations are requested to take and return by June 15.


    ACM has had questions around meat raffles and bingo. Guidance from the GCB is that everything can start up that’s operated in compliance with the social distancing restrictions.  There aren’t any social distancing restrictions specific to the conduct of lawful gambling.  The GCB would ask organizations to follow the same procedures as there are for selling/serving drinks and food.


    Attached is the May 8 2020 GCB checklist for re-opening.

    EO 20-74 Final_tcm1055-434913.pdf

    2020-gn-aprmayjun.pdf

    restart-checklist.pdf

    Regards,


  • 28 May 2020 13:37 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Members, Below was posted on the GCB website this morning. Attached are the Frequently Asked Questions, Executive Order 20-63 and Form LG272.  


    May 28, 2020

    June 1 Restart - Frequently asked questions:  

     

    Executive Order to Assist Veterans and Fraternal Organizations:  Governor Walz signed Executive Order 20-63 (see page 9, paragraph G) on May 27, 2020, allowing veterans or fraternal organizations to lend gambling funds to their general account to pay for expenses necessary to reopen such organizations’ permitted premises.

     

    What does this executive order mean?

    This executive order is a special allowance for veterans and fraternal organizations to make a loan from the organization’s gambling account to its general account to get their posts/clubs up and running.  Prior authorization from the Gambling Control Board must be received first.

     

    How does your post/club get prior authorization?

    To get prior authorization fill out form LG272, Request for Lawful Gambling Account Loan to General Account, and submit it to the Gambling Control Board.  Once the form is reviewed and approved, you will receive authorization to make the loan from your gambling account to the general account.

     

    Are there any restrictions?

    • The loan proceeds may not be used as collateral for any other loan.

    • The loan proceeds may not be used for gambling-related expenses.

    • The loan must be repaid to the gambling account in full within one year or suspend its gambling operation.

    • If the organization terminates lawful gambling and the loan has not been repaid, the loan repayment will be included in the terms of the license termination plan.

     

    Access form LG272, Request for Lawful Gambling Account Loan to General Account, here. 

    restart-q-a.pdf

    eo20-63.pdf

    UpdatedLG272 Emergency Loan - COVID-19 (1).pdf


  • 26 May 2020 12:54 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    Members,


    Attached are two pdf documents.


    One is ACM health and safety recommendations for reopening sites and the other is questions that we have been getting from members that have been answered by the GCB.


    Arrow International has made signage available for your use at  https://resources.arrowinternational.com/signage


    The Administrative Law Judge has ruled that the state did not engage in unadopted rule making in the tribal petition regarding electronic pull tabs and has dismissed the petition. See ACM website for the entire ruling at www.alliedcharitiesmn.org 


    Regards,

    ACM-recommendations for reopening.pdf

    re-openingfaqs05252020.pdf;


  • 26 May 2020 10:12 | Allen Lund (Administrator)
  • 21 May 2020 18:44 | Allen Lund (Administrator)

    May 21, 2020

    Guidance for Restarting Lawful Gambling on June 1

    In conjunction with Governor Walz’s May 20, 2020, announcement, lawful gambling may be conducted outdoors at permitted premises beginning June 1, 2020.  These lawful gambling activities must be conducted in compliance with all applicable executive orders and Center for Disease Control guidance.  All lawful gambling statutes and rules remain in effect and compliance will be enforced.

     

    Outdoor Sales Conduct

    • You may sell gambling equipment only in those areas where food and alcohol are allowed to be served.

    • Focus on internal controls.

    - Cash and games (including electronic games) must be secured at all times and games must remain in view of the site’s staff to ensure integrity of the games.

    - All games (except raffles) must be sold and played outside on the premises, but may not leave the outdoor dining area.

    - House Rules must reflect any changes to the conduct of games at the permitted premises.

     

    Gambling Equipment - Ordering and Delivery

    • Only gambling managers and assistant gambling managers may place orders for new games prior to the reopening of permitted premises.  After restarting, gambling managers may delegate the authority to order more games.

    • Delivery of cash banks and any new games may not be made earlier than four days (seven days for electronic gambling equipment) prior to the Governor’s lifting of those executive order restrictions.

     

    We urge your organization to be patient and not restart any gambling activities before they are allowed.  Any failure to comply with those requirements prior to the lifting of the executive orders will lead to the prosecution of all violations via applicable adverse administrative and criminal actions.

     

    Please check our website for any updates.


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