BARSTOW — The postponed raffle of a restored 1968 convertible Mustang has left a Route 66 Festival organizer and some ticket holders unhappy.
Angela Babala with Angels Garage sent the Desert Dispatch an email on Thursday saying that the raffle scheduled to take place at 3 p.m. Saturday during the Route 66 Festival on Main Street would be postponed. Babala said the drawing would take place Oct. 31 to allow time to raise more money for Victory Outreach in Barstow and victims of the Bluecut Fire.
In a phone conversation Saturday, Babala said only $3,000 had been raised through sales of the raffle tickets, which cost $10 each. She blamed the low amount of sales on the online sales site which had been down for 10 days. She also said the American blues-rock trio ZZ Top would be promoting the raffle during the next two weeks to boost ticket sales.
"When you went to the site, it said '404 error code.' We didn't know this until the 11th day it had been down," Babala said.
The web page is now online and it advertises the raffle to be held during the Family Fun Fest event at the Victory Outreach from 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 31.
"If you want your money back or want another ticket, no problem," Babala said.
She said ticket holders seeking their money back can contact Victory Outreach at 760-256-6100 or Angels Garage at 442-235-9127. According to Babala, Victory Outreach is handling all the cash raised by the ticket sales.
Babala also said she contacted the California Attorney General's Office and received approval to postpone the drawing. A Desert Dispatch message left with the Attorney General's office was not returned by 5 p.m. Monday.
The postponement of the raffle disappointed Mary Consenza with the Saturday Night Cruisers. Her car club helped promote the festival and the raffle that was originally scheduled to be held at 3 p.m. Saturday.
"All the literature, tickets, fliers and everything else they had out said it would be drawn on the 15th at 3 o'clock. I talked to a lawyer. He looked it up and he said it was a breach of contract for every ticket sale," Consenza said. "To be honest, no drawing at our show makes our club look bad. That was our concern."
She also said several people believed the Babalas were raffling off the car for a second time. However, the Babalas raffled off a completely different vehicle a year ago. It was a 1965 Ford Mustang GT Fastback. That raffle raised $191,000 for the Pirate Toy Fund in New York.
Consenza said a heated argument occurred between her group and Angela and Mark Babala during the Route 66 Festival on Saturday. The Babalas left with the car after the argument.
"We went to the event and tempers flared," Angela Babala said on a Facebook post that she forwarded to the Desert Dispatch. "Would I wish I didn't get so reeved...yes but I am human. This raffle is in two weeks at Halloween and those wishing to have a refund PM me and those wishing to get an extra ticket for the inconvenience do the same. People our goal is to help these two charities, nothing else as this is a community we all share a concern for."
When reached Monday, Pastor Abe Rodriguez with Victory Outreach said he believes Angela Babala has her "heart in the right place." But he's now concerned with the negativey surrounding the raffle. He's considering asking that the drawing be held at a different location.
"There just been some negative stuff on social media, Facebook," Rodriguez said.
He also explained that his church only holds the cash collected by it. Babala confirmed there are other locations selling the tickets and the cash from those locations will be picked up right before the drawing. Tickets are being sold at CT Sales, Split Ends and Desert Market in Yermo. Babala said a check will be sent to Victory Outreach from money raised.
Babala also said the money will be counted just before the raffle. Half of the proceeds intended for the Bluecut Fire victims will be given to United Way officials who are expected to attend the Oct. 31 drawing.
"All I wanted to do was raise money for this community," Babala said Monday. "We are driving this car to all the different events. Putting oil in the car, putting the gas in this car. We don't get any money back. We are putting money back into the community."
Mike Lamb can be reached at 760-957-0613 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter @mlambdisaptch.