Local News

Oct 8, 2013 4:39 PM by Janine Reyes

6 Investigates: Lotto Commission Fines Charity Bingo Group

CORPUS CHRISTI -- We have an update for you now on a 6 Investigates into charity bingo.

The Texas Lottery Commission issued an administrative penalty to the group.

It's now up to the Columbian Ladies of South Texas to accept and pay the penalty, or to try and fight it.

The Columbian Ladies of South Texas are assessed a total fine of $725. They have 90 days to agree and pay it or they can choose to fight it through an informal conference or a formal hearing.

Calls made to Columbian Ladies President Minnie Pena went unanswered today.

We wanted to know if they plan to pay the penalty issued by the Texas Lottery Commission.

It's broken down by violation, there's a 5 page list of violations alone, and most alleged violations will result in just warnings.

We wanted to know if this is a large amount of violations, though, so we checked with Isaac Valencia, his family runs the Valencia Hall, they've been involved in the business for more than 40 years.

He tells us mistakes can and do happen. "Its not impossible to where bad change can be made, a small amount, but add them up over time, you know you could have a large amount," said Valencia.

The penalty could cost the Columbian Ladies $200. In the notice, auditors found 8 of 11 occasions had inaccurate cash reports.

That's not all, the largest penalty for the Columbian Ladies is a $400 fine. That's because in the third quarter of 2012, there's $24.688.99 in outstanding checks unaccounted for.

"Almost $25,000 dollars is that a lot," we asked Valencia. "To me that would be a large amount, that seems like a lot to go missing," Valencia said.

But, its not just a fine, but the Texas Lottery Commission is requesting a researched and amended quarterly report in 30 days.

Beyond the missing money is a check made out to club President Minnie Pena. The Texas Lottery Commission found no documentation on what that check was for, so, they're asking her to redeposit the $138.32 in to the bingo bank account and pay a $25 dollar fine.

Valencia says charities at C.C. Bingo have done good things in the community. In September, the Columbian Ladies gave a $5,000 donation to the Red Cross.

But that's not always been the case for the ladies.

We began our investigation when we noticed their charity got a very small piece of the pie in donation dollars in 2012.

The group brought in $1.12 million, but only paid out $7,596 to charity.

"A $1.12 million operation, a $7,000 return, does that sound pretty low," we asked Valencia. "It's questionable, its questionable," he said.

It's a question the Columbian Ladies have never answered. Now the letter from the Texas Lottery Commission means they just may have to.

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