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Salvation Army Rejects Lottery-Tainted Gift

January 04, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

The Salvation Army has declined a $100,000 donation from a lottery winner because a local official didn't want money linked with gambling.

David L. Rush, 71, announced shortly before Christmas that he planned to share some of his winnings from the Florida Lotto with the charity. He had one of the four winning tickets in the $100-million lottery jackpot drawing and took a $14.3-million lump sum payment.

Maj. Cleo Damon, head of the Salvation Army in Naples, Fla., told Rush he couldn't take the money and returned the check, which another official of the evangelical organization had accepted.

"There are times where Maj. Damon is counseling families who are about to become homeless because of gambling," said a spokeswoman, Maribeth Shanahan. "He really believes that if he had accepted the money, he would be talking out of both sides of his mouth."

Rush, in response, said: "Everybody has a right to be sanctimonious if they want to be.

"I respect the Salvation Army's decision," he said. "I do not agree with it, but that is their prerogative."

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