Sporty's Iron Duke Saloon, Minerva
A local businessman who has been providing charity for local children and other organizations brought up a number of concerns during the public comment period of the Minerva Town Board meeting on July 19.
David Beale, owner of Sporty's Iron Duke Saloon, has contributed 1,000 turkeys to the local food pantry and supported the Little League, rescue squad, fire department and the Minerva Service Organization (MSO). He told board members that he was hurt by what he felt was a lack of community support.
He told the board that a “local neighbor” had recently called the New York State Liquor Authority, which subsequently determined the raffle he held for the Essex County Toys for Kids charity, of which he is vice president, constituted illegal gambling.
“The charity’s been wiped out,” Beale said.
Beale explained that in the last seven years, Toys for Kids had provided 3,500 children with toys, and 500 children had benefited from the charity just this past year.
“Now, in the second poorest county in the state, there are many children who will not get Christmas,” Beale said.
When he first moved to the town, Beale said he remembers how he went before the Town Board and told members of all the things he planned to do for the community.
“Well, over the past eight years, I did all the things I said I would do, and I feel like all I have gotten is a kick in the teeth,” Beale said.
According to Beale, the Glens Falls resident who donated a car every year to the raffle spoke to Sen. Betty Little (R-Queensbury) about the matter. Little assigned one of her aides to look into the matter and tried to help. Beale said that he was advised that the town of Minerva needed to either pass a referendum or vote at the next election to allow games of chance — which were currently illegal at present.
Town Supervisor Sue Montgomery Corey said that she has always appreciated everything Beale does for the community and noted that an item on the agenda for the meeting was a review of the games of chance laws in the town.
Beale said that while this would help other businesses and non-profits in the town, that it would not resolve the obstacles for his charity. He explained that the vast web of rules and regulations in place by the Racing and Wagering Board of New York State was simply “mind boggling.” For example, a person must have an individual permit for every county that does not physically border the county in which the charity is based, so that Beale could not sell a raffle ticket in Saratoga County because he does not have a permit in Warren County.
Councilman Stephen McNally noted that “the only losers are the kids.”
In addition to his frustrations over the raffle, Beale noted that he had serious concerns about the Planning Board. When he went to before that board when he wanted to build a kitchen in his establishment, he said he had never been treated so disrespectfully in his entire life. He said that the Planning Board should be reviewed because members of any board should conduct themselves professionally and treat citizens with respect and dignity. Beale said that he would like to meet with the Town Board to discuss these issues.
Corey said that she is aware that there were some issues with the Planning Board and knows that they need to be working with the Planning and Zoning Boards on how laws are implemented. She had already had a brief meeting with them and intends to follow up with them on these issues soon.