Maine Inn Scored $900K in Testy Essay Giveaway

But Maine cops say everything was on the up-and-up
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 5, 2015 6:11 AM CDT
Updated Jul 5, 2015 6:29 AM CDT
The Center Lovell Inn in Lovell, Maine. Janice Sage, who took ownership of the inn by winning an essay contest 22 years ago, will announce the winner of a new such contest Saturday, June 6.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
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(Newser) – State police say the owner of a Maine inn who held an essay contest to give away her business made more than $900,000 through the endeavor. The Portland Press Herald reports that state police said in their investigation that Janice Sage, owner of the Center Lovell Inn, charged a $125 entry fee per essay and got 7,255 entries. Sage won the 210-year-old inn in a similar essay contest in 1993.

Authorities investigated after several entrants complained that the rules seemed to be stacked against them. State police determined that Sage did not violate state gambling laws. Sage read the entries and picked the 20 finalists, but two judges, whose names were redacted in the state police report, picked the winner. The 68-year-old Sage says the money will fund her retirement.

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