Beef, it’s what’s for dinner, right? Well, chew on this. If you decide to pop into the Elks Lodge in Havre, Montana on May 3rd, you can get treated to a free prime rib dinner. And it’s all thanks to Montana’s Commissioner of Securities and Insurance.
Lucas Hamilton, Communications Director for Commissioner Monica Lindeen (D-MT), said the dinner is part of a statewide tour being held by the commissioner’s office to educate Montanans about investor fraud. The free prime rib dinner in Havre will coincide with the showing of a documentary, created by the commissioners office, that tells the story of two high profile investor fraud cases in Montana.
Hamilton said, “This documentary was created based off of some cases we’ve had recently in Montana dealing with investment fraud. So by having the victims on camera talking about their experience, we hope that taking this across the state and showing it to other Montanans we can share some really valuable information.”
The Havre Daily Corrector, a conservative blog, first spotted the ad in The Havre Daily News and added this:
Free food is apparently the lure used in an attempt to get a crowd to view the 50 minute documentary. Obviously the State budget is large enough to forget the old peanut butter and jelly sandwich if they can afford to spread around prime rib dinners like there will be no tomorrow. On second thought why are they buying anyone dinner even if it was only a sandwich which is not the case? It probably has nothing to do with the fact that Monica Lindeen is up for re-election this year and she just innocently has this special place in her heart for folks from Havre.
Hamilton says the documentary will be shown in multiple locations across Montana which will all feature a free dinner. Funding for the documentary, and the free meals, comes from a grant that the commissioners office received from the Investor Protection Trust, which focuses on investor education.
“The trust itself is funded through court-ordered and voluntary contributions from often times the very white-collar criminals who commit the crimes,” said Hamilton. “So, oftentimes when the Commissioner’s office prosecutes an investment fraud case they will also ask for a contribution to the trust.”
Hamilton said he hadn’t seen the Havre Daily Corrector blog post yet, but added, “It’s not government money that is going to pay for the prime rib, it is actually the criminals who commit investment fraud. So, in a way, it could be seen as justice. These are people who prey on investors, and they are caught, and now they are paying for this documentary and our tour across the state to bring that to Montana.”
When asked why the money is being used for free dinners for the public, instead of compensating the victims, Hamilton said, “We always ask for restitution to the victims…sometimes the money may be gone…unfortunately this money that is paid into the trust cannot be paid to the victims.”
For those of you in other locations across Montana, the documentary will soon be coming to a dinner table near you. While prime rib will not be served at all locations, the commissioner’s communications director said you can rest assured that “in all cases…it’s fair to say it’s a pretty good meal.”
Click here to listen to the full interview with the commissioner’s communications director.