Manchester residents Denise Robinson, 55, and LaShae Robinson, 21, said they entered the competition Sept. 8 at the 10th annual Community Appreciation Day at Kennard Field in the Hill District and despite winning the contest with a pineapple upside down cake, Wheatley awarded them only $100 instead of the $200 advertised on fliers for the event, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported Tuesday.
"It's not about the money," said Denise Robinson, a paralegal who is a registered Democrat. "He is my state representative. I own my house. I pay taxes and I vote. That was just a smack in the face. If my state rep will breach a contract for $200, then what is he doing for $200,000?"
Wheatley, 40, who is running unopposed in the Nov. 6 general election, said contestants were told before the start of the event that the $200 prize was contingent on the event receiving a high enough number of entries.
"The whole concept was supposed to be a 50/50 raffle. There was a $10 entry fee and if all slots were paid for, we'd match that $100 with another $100," he said. "We're not trying to enrich people. We're just trying to make it lively. I never anticipated having to show up in a courtroom trying to defend a prize that we're giving away."
The small claims suit is seeking $1,000 and is scheduled for a hearing Nov. 7.