Residents of Trailer Estates protest Bingo Restrictions
On Wednesday, dozens of several angry residents protested on the restrictions on bingo games at Trailer Estates Park in Manatee. They were holding signs that said “Bingo is Legal,” “Let our Seniors Play Bingo,” and “This is Elder Abuse.” The protestors shouted these slogans at cars going by on the streets and got hunks in return.
Among the demonstrators, there was resident Myrtle Hollin 97 who said that she enjoyed playing bingo – it perks her up and makes her feeling better. Residents said that the Manatee County Sheriff’s office threatened to halt the popular bingo games as it constituted to gambling activities. For many years, bingo gamers have bet small amounts of cash that were put in the cash jackpots and given out for the winners. A letter from Sheriff Brad Steube dated on March 28 said that Trailer Estates does not fall into any of these categories of nonprofit entities permitted to conduct bingo games.
Consultation with park attorney Mark Barnebey produced a compromise in regards to Wednesday night’s bingo game. Barnebey mentioned that winners would be given prizes instead of cash. Park resident, Mary Lou Smith had filed a complaint to end the games. She said that all that she had been wanting is to get all follow the law. Their own attorneys had mentioned twice about the games to be stopped. She herself had complained that she had was protesting assessment for her taxpayer dollars were being spent on gambling supplies and equipment. In the year 2008, Sharon Denson sued the park claiming Sunshine Law violations.
After a seven day trial, Circuit Court Judge, Janette Dunnigan ruled in favour of Trailer Estates. Dunnigan found mobile home park staff made an adequate attempt to accommodate the sister’s requests. The Trailer Estates Park and Recreational District became a governmental body subject to the state’s Sunshine and open record laws when it got established by the Florida legislature in 1969 as a special taxing district.
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