Bingo Bust

A Tallahassee Bingo hall manager was arrested a year ago for keeping more than his legal share of Bingo game proceeds. Wednesday, the seized money was handed over to charity.

Scout Troop 33, a group of disabled adults, counted on proceeds from Bingo games to help fund some of their activities, to troop leaders were floored to discover the man who ran T&L Bingo was pocketing more than his share.

Robert Guilday with Boy Scout Troop 33 says, "I really was surprised, with everything we were doing I just wasn't expecting that."

Tommy Ledbetter was arrested last January, accused of several Bingo law violations including failing to give charity hosts their share of the money.

DET Leslie Kitching, of LCSO Financial Crimes, says, "So the charities were getting $100 and the Bingo hall people were getting the rest of the money, anywhere from $750 a night to $1,600 a night."

A judge recently ordered some $22,000 seized from the Bingo bust handed out to four shortchanged charities. The sheriff handed over the checks Wednesday, each for about $5,600.

The wave program received one of those checks. It will use the five grand to provide social events and community service projects for disabled adults, but organizers say accepting this money is bittersweet at best.

Laura Weinants, Wave board president, says, "While the Ledbetters’ maybe should have given us more money than they did, they have provided us with, by far, the bulk of our budget and have been our biggest supporters from the beginning."

The four organizations given checks include Wave, Scout Troop 33, Tallahassee's "Awaken Ministry" and "The Lambs Temple of God" in Midway.