After prize went up in flames viewers wondering what happened to raffle

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by Meredith Yeomans

azfamily.com

Posted on September 23, 2009 at 12:26 PM

PHOENIX - As a community searches for clues behind a series of fires in North Tempe investigators in another Valley arson case say they have their man.

The arrest of a Valley millionaire left many with more questions than answers.

Jaws dropped when news that Michael Marin's Biltmore mansion had gone up in flames.

But perhaps more surprising was how the 50 year-old millionaire escaped that July 5th morning.

He'd used a collapsible ladder to crawl out of a second story balcony, all while donning scuba gear to help breathe.

Before the fire it appeared to be an incredible act of charity when Marin said that he wanted to raffle off his estate to benefit the Child Crisis Center.

Marin appeared on Good Morning Arizona back in February to talk about the raffle.

When this thrill seeking philanthropist was arrested and accused of burning down his own mansion 3TV viewers who'd purchased the $25 tickets began wondering what ever happened with the raffle?

Donna Razon was one of those viewers.

“I was watching Channel 3 one morning and saw the guy interviews and they were talking about the raffle, and it was a good benefit, the child crisis nursery,” she said.

3 On Your Side asked Chris Scarpati, Director of the Child Crisis Center, how much money was raised and since there was no house to raffle off what did the winning ticket holder get?

“We split $90,000 with the winner,” she said.

As it turns out, the center had ended the raffle months before the fire.

“We had the right as a sponsoring agency, the nonprofit, to end the raffle if it looked like the sales were not going to reach what they needed to reach,” she said.

Scarpati tells us the rules state a minimum of 176,000 tickets needed to be sold before Marin's home could be raffled off.

Less than 4,000 were sold when the center pulled the plug on the fundraiser in May.

“Mr. Marin didn't get a penny of the proceeds, because that's the way the raffle was set up,” Scarpati said.

While a substantial amount of money was raised, the Child Crisis Center says it wants to put this entire experience behind them, so they can get back to the business of helping abused and neglected children.

Michael Marin is out of jail after posting a $200,000 bond.

He's due back in court on October 20.

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