Did Essay Contest for Maine Inn Violate Law?

Janice Sage
Dina Rudick/Boston Globe

Police are investigating whether a woman violated state law when she ran an essay contest for the ownership of a Maine inn earlier this year, according to the Boston Globe.

In the contest, participants paid $125 entry fees and submitted 200-word essays to win the Center Lovell Inn and Restaurant. Janice Sage won the inn in a similar essay contest in 1993 after managing a restaurant for years in Maryland. The winners of this year's contest, Prince and Rose Adams, ran a restaurant in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Dozens of entrants are alleging that Sage advertised the contest deceptively, saying that owners of inns or restaurants would not be given any advantage.

The Center Lovell Contest Fair Practices Commission charges that the contest "was illegally deceptive and violated consumer-rights regulations, intentionally coercing thousands of people to enter a contest that they never had an actual chance of winning," according to organizer Kelley Prass Collins.

The Boston Globe reports that Maine State Police are working to determine if a law on games of skill was violated.

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