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Town of Batavia Fire Department suspends this year's Harley raffle, aim is to ensure all fundraising is 'fully compliant'

By Billie Owens

Press release:

As a public safety, not for profit agency, the membership and Board of Directors of the Town of Batavia Fire Department, Inc., strive to conduct all of our activities above board and fully compliant with all Federal, State and local laws. 

With recent events, we have decided that it would be prudent to fully examine our fundraising activities to make sure that they are compliant with all applicable rules, regulations and laws.

A thorough examination will take time to complete. With our largest fundraiser scheduled for just a few months down the road, we have decided it would be best to suspend our very popular Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Raffle, until we are completely satisfied that we are in full compliance.

We would like to thank all our past supporters including our sponsors, our vendors, and the volunteer members and significant others who sell tickets and work the event.

Most importantly, we would like to thank those who have supported us financially by purchasing tickets and attending our raffles. You have made this event successful every year.

We will not be commenting further until the examination is completed and a decision has been made on future fundraising efforts. 

Andy Pedro

What a shame this is. First Stafford, then Elba, now these guys. The state needs to change their policy and allow this. These are all extremely well run events that generate a lot of profit for these non-profit orgs. What is the harm? No one is being forced to buy a ticket or attend the event. Our government representatives need to step up the efforts to change this immediately....

Mar 31, 2016, 2:59pm Permalink
Ed Hartgrove

Bud. You wrote "she's" twice. Is there a reason you intimated that the "whitsleblower" was a female?

Not suggesting that she be forced to wear a big, crimson "W" on her back. But, a concerted blank-stare/whispering campaign might be instituted.

Mar 31, 2016, 5:49pm Permalink
alvin tufts

It sounds like a lame excuse. If it was that hard to be compliant, then every town across NYS would be canceling raffles. It would be major news not only in New York State but nationally as well.

Mar 31, 2016, 6:38pm Permalink
Bob Price

I wonder if the Batavia Rotarians are going to continue their Corvette raffle as well....can't wait to find out who the idiot that turned Stafford in is, just to thank them for ruining the carnival and probably making our taxes go up. Just hope that person never needs the volunteers to save their sorry ass or property in an emergency......

Mar 31, 2016, 7:13pm Permalink
Ed Hartgrove

Well, Alvin. I suppose, on the face of it, it would seem to be an easy thing to be compliant with the role & regulations.

But, when dealing with government regulations, it often requires an attorney to wade through all the "legal mumbo-jumbo" interlaced within those regs. And, sometimes, even attorneys get it wrong.

As an example of what I mean, here's just a "little" except from NY Senate bill S3221:

Section 1. Subdivision 11 of section 302 of the retirement and social security law is amended by adding a new paragraph i to read as follows: I. SERVICE AS A UNIVERSITY POLICE OFFICER APPOINTED BY THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK PURSUANT TO PARAGRAPH L OF SUBDIVISION TWO OF SECTION THREE HUNDRED FIFTY-FIVE OF THE EDUCATION LAW.

S 2. Subdivision d of section 375-f of the retirement and social security law, as separately amended by chapters 674 and 677 of the laws of 1986, is amended to read as follows:

d. In addition to the retirement allowance provided pursuant to the plans set forth in sections three hundred eighty-three, three hundred eighty-three-a [and], three hundred eighty-three-b AND THREE HUNDRED EIGHTY-THREE-D of this [chapter] ARTICLE, a member of [either] ANY such plan who retires on or after April first, nineteen hundred sixty-nine with more than twenty-five years of total service shall be entitled to receive, in addition to the benefits provided pursuant to [either] ANY such section and notwithstanding the limitations of [either] ANY such section, an additional retirement allowance for such years of service rendered in excess of twenty-five. The additional retirement allowance for such additional years of service shall be computed as if such member had been eligible to have his retirement allowance computed pursuant to the provisions of subdivision b of section three hundred seventy-five-c and of paragraph one of subdivision a of section three hundred seventy- five-d of this [chapter] TITLE.

See what I mean? Sometimes the gov't sticks little words in their legislation that would confuse the average person.

As for other entities (fire departments, churches, non-profit organizations) being in compliance, it's probably just a matter of time. As this whole thing started with the Stafford FD, and, has expanded slowly to local groups, it might be a while, until groups in Salamanca, Syracuse, Binghamton, Watertown, Messina, etc. even become aware of this situation.

I've an idea that the articles in the Batavian and the Daily News is the only reason it's just beginning in the local area. Word of this might never spread beyond the readership area.

Mar 31, 2016, 11:33pm Permalink
Robert Brown


Note the racing state link appears to be broken, but most of the forms can be found here:

Part of the state's restrictions on raffles require consent from every municipality where tickets will be sold if certain provisions are not met on an annual basis:

You can bet these rules and regulations have been ignored by countless organizations throughout the state. Civil disobedience? More likely lack of knowing about the constraints.

What is the value add by the state for this legal boondoggle? Who do the laws serve? Does any of the paperwork prevent a crime? Have any of the raffles conducted for charity ever been accused of being rigged or not provided the advertised prizes? If so, how would paperwork have changed the raffle(s)?

Apr 1, 2016, 1:27am Permalink
Brian Graz

NYS's progressive [regressive] government is pushing for more government control... their sick mindset is; "Let's make ALL NYS critical services operations government jobs. The people have had it too good for too long. Why should anyone get free/volunteer service for anything???"

I wonder if Assemblyman Di Pietro's huge Gun Raffles/fund raisers are under scrutiny? Or, similar to the NYSP and NYSAFE compliance, are legislators exempt of raffle regs???

Apr 1, 2016, 2:01pm Permalink
Bob Price

St.Joes only did a cash drawing last year- first year I can remember that they didn't have a car. I also think they only sell tickets at carnival,as I don't recall ever seeing them(tickets) at any businesses around Batavia area. I haven't seen any "official" word that Stafford is actually cancelled or will continue w/out the raffle. I wonder if they could just do a cash raffle this year by selling tickets around county only....

Apr 1, 2016, 5:36pm Permalink

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