Foundation seeking bingo permit

Published 11:59 pm Monday, June 1, 2009

Covington County Sheriff Dennis Meeks confirmed Monday that the local non-profit Danley Charitable Foundation has submitted an application to operate bingo for charitable purposes.

Meeks, speaking at a meeting of the Kiwanis Club, said that the Opp-based 501(c)(3) organization has submitted the application, but he has not yet issued a permit.

John Ellis, a trustee in the Danley Charitable Foundation, explained that the non-profit organization was created in 1988 and its main project is financing and maintaining the Danley Charitable Park on U.S. Hwy. 331 south of Opp. Ellis’ grandfather founded the Danley Furniture Company.

“The foundation was set up when Danley Furniture was sold to Heilig-Meyers,” Ellis said. “With some of the money from the sale, we were able to open a park for people who need a place to have family reunions and things like that. At this point, the money that is in the foundation is basically used to keep up the park.”

Ellis said the foundation wanted to “put its name in the hat” as a group that would be interested in operating bingo in Covington County.

“I believe it would help the county,” he said. “All we’re looking for is something that may allow us to help the charities in the county. Right now, we’re just taking a look at it and would be interested in it. We’re just looking into it to see if we could get a little money to where we could sponsor scholarships and things like that for people in the county.”

Ellis’ mother, Peggy Ellis, is also a trustee in the foundation. She is also the mother of District 1 Commissioner David Ellis.

A local act passed in the Alabama legislature in 1993 sets rules for charitable bingo in Covington County. Those rules give the sheriff authority to issue $100 permits for charitable bingo and set guidelines for issuing those permits.

Constitutional Amendment 565, approved by statewide vote in 1994, allows charitable bingo in Covington County and charges the county commission with setting rules for it. The county commission has been given proposed rules by its attorney, Julie Moody. However, the commission has not publicly discussed those rules and has denied requests by this newspaper for copies.

The issue is expected to be discussed at next Monday’s county commission meeting.