Charity home giveaway fundraiser in jeopardy

Charity home giveaway fundraiser in jeopardy

By Holly Juscen – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Suzan Forbes of the Forbes Foundation is the mastermind behind the dream home giveaway. For the last few weeks she's giving away laptops and other prizes.  She needed to come up with $750,000 in donations by May 1st, for the grand prize, a house.

Forbes has only received donations of $160,000 and is still several hundred thousand short but is not giving up, "Every ticket is still good. I am going give this house away. It may not be May 1st,  but I am going do it," says Forbes.

But it probably won't be the home she had planned. That's because if Forbes doesn't pay for it by Saturday the contract expires. Even if that happens, under state law, Forbes is obligated to give something away May 1st.

The prizes will be the biggest ones the foundation can afford now, "the prizes now are determined by the donation amount. So, the least amount that will be given away is a transportation package, a car and also a vacation," says Forbes.

The Honolulu Police Department and the Attorney General's office have been closely watching to make sure this give away is legitimate. In mid-March, Hugh Jones, of the Attorney General's office instructed Forbes she needed to come up with alternative prizes, just in case the house deal fell through.

The list of prizes went up on her website March 15th, so anyone who purchased a ticket before then can get a refund.  In a statement, the office says, "The Forbes Foundation is a registered charitable organization, yet donors who believe that they have been misled may file a complaint with the Department of the Attorney General."

Forbes says she's been overwhelmed by requests, many are for free tickets, which she must honor under state rules. She's already spent $75,000 of her own money for advertising.

This home giveaway is a life long dream, but Forbes says the reality of the undertaking has been heartbreaking, "I just want people to know that I care. I've tried my best, and when your best isn't good enough, it's hard."

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.