How much charity is too much? Maine woman just found out

No good deed goes unpunished, the quip goes, and make no mistake: Laura Benedict, of Augusta, Maine, does good deeds when she holds fundraisers at her restaurant.

Her generosity made the national network news, as when she raised money to send aging veterans on an Honor Flight to the World War II Memorial in Washington…

Months later, more attention for more fundraisers…

But fundraisers are noisy things and she’s been issued a $200 citation because of the noise created at her restaurant, WLBZ TV reports. It took a year-long “investigation”.

But the law is the law and it’s right there in the town ordinances: “the beating of drums, sounding of trumpets or other means” is noise.

Laura Benedict took to Facebook on Friday to react. She thought the citation was for the noise created by Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy during the Honor Flight fundraiser.


(Video link)

But she was wrong, she realized later. It was for noise generated during a fundraiser for anti-bullying efforts.

Even the local congressman had taken to Twitter to suggest the fine was an afront to veterans.

But the video had already gone viral, including the phone number for Augusta’s mayor.

“The fact that a year-long internal investigation was issued is still ridiculous,” she wrote on Facebook in her apology. “I was so angry and protective of my veterans that I lost my head. Please accept my humblest apologies.”

But the mayor says even if the noise violation had been for the Honor Flight fundraiser, he couldn’t look the other way.

“I have to support the city code office. We can’t look the other way on this one and not on that one,” David Rollins told the Kennebec Journal.

It turns out that this good deeds stuff is complicated. The Maine attorney general’s office sent her a cease and desist letter because she had not complied with the state’s Charitable Solicitations Act by failing to register with the Office of Professional and Occupational Registration to her her more than 100 benefits for charity.

  • Gary F

    I guess the city has plenty of staff with time on their hands.

    I was in DC a few years ago and the busses are lined up with vets and support staff. Not sure if the memorial was the attraction or the caravans of busses lined up with all those vets.

  • Jack

    No good deed goes unpunished.

    Let the city staff eat their cake.

  • Ralphy

    “the beating of drums, sounding of trumpets or other means” – gotta love the catch-all “or other means”.
    Nether cello players, whistleblowers or popcorn poppers are safe from the long arm of the law in Augusta, Maine.