A Webster County woman is suing Iowa Central Community College after she was denied gambling winnings at an Iowa casino.
Clarisa Bernard’s lawsuit, filed this week in U.S. District Court, alleges that the college and its debt collection firm, Hauge Associates, violated federal and state debt collection laws.
Bernard alleges that “at some point” before 2019, she fell into debt with Iowa Central Community College and then defaulted. She later filed for bankruptcy, and the college assigned its debt, then $4,820, to Hauge for collection.
In October 2019, she claims, her bankruptcy case was closed and her entire debt to the school was paid off.
Even so, she claims, Hauge sent her a letter last month informing her that she still owed the college $3,669. A week ago, Bernard alleges that she won what she describes only as a “manual payout” at Jefferson’s Wild Rose Casino.
The term “manual payout” generally refers to the payment of winnings large enough to make a mechanized payout on a slot machine impractical, or large enough to trigger a tax liability on the part of the player.
According to Bernard, the casino kept a portion of its winnings – its lawsuit does not state the amount – “for the benefit of Iowa Central Community College”.
Bernard says the college and Hauge each violated the federal Fair Debt Collection Act and the state Debt Collection Practices Act. The casino is not a party to the lawsuit.
Hauge and the college have yet to file a response to the allegations.
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