State Police rule no wrongdoing in inn essay contest

The Maine State Police say there were no violations of Maine gaming laws from the Center Lovell Inn essay contest that has sparked some complaints from contest participants.

Sgt. Michael Johnston of the State Police’s Special Investigation Unit said the investigation included a review of the contest to include the rules, and interviews with the present and future owners of the Inn, Janice Sage and Prince Adams, along with the two judges, who reviewed the essays and picked the winner. Sgt. Johnston said the investigation’s conclusion was that there were no violations of Maine gaming statutes (Title 17, Chapter 62). Sgt. Johnston said the investigation concluded that this was a game of skill, not a game of chance.

State Police license games of chance, but there are no laws in Maine overseeing essay contests. Sgt. Johnston assigned veteran State Police Gaming Inspector Barry Hathaway to the investigation. Hathaway also looked into complaints when the inn changed hands in another essay contest in 1993.

Sgt. Johnston said his office received 15 complaints about the contest and the complainants were notified Monday of the decision.

Sgt. Johnston met with the Maine Attorney General’s Office Monday to review the State Police findings. Johnston said Attorney General’s Office also concluded that there were no violations of the state’s consumer protection laws.

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