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May 06. 2013 10:15PM

After a whirlwind weekend, man who lost at Manchester carnival feeling like the top banana


 

MANCHESTER - The man who gained Internet notoriety for losing $2,600 in a Manchester carnival game said the derision against him will be worth it if officials stop issuing permits for deceptive carnival games to operate in the state.

Henry Gribbohm said he's comfortable with how he's handled the media onslaught and negative comments that erupted after he claims he lost his savings in a game of chance last month at a Manchester carnival.

Gribbohm said if he were not in the right, he would not have gone as far as he did, which includes unprecedented media attention and two offers to regain his loses.

"If I was really the dummy the media portrayed me to be, would we be in the position we are now?" he asked.

Gribbohm, 30, received $600 and an oversized dreadlocked banana after he complained to the carnival about his loses on April 28. Since then, he's appeared on VH1's Best Week Ever, where he tossed a ball in a tub and won $2,600 from the network.

And the website Collegehumor.com promised another $2,600 if enough people liked his article on Facebook, which they did.

Gribbohm said Monday that he's happy with how he handled the entire situation. Yes, he's taken a beating. But Gribbolm said he's raised issue about carnival games.

"I don't understand why we give permits to someone who's going to come in and take from us," he said.

On Monday, the top consumer affairs official in the state said from what he's read, it doesn't appear the carnival was unfairly deceptive, which would trigger an investigation under the Consumer Protection Act.

"If somebody's has no self control and keeps playing a game of chance and losing, I'm not sure what's unfairly deceptive of that," said James Boffetti, a senior assistant attorney general and chief of the Consumer Protection Bureau.

But Boffetti said it could be up to local officials to decide whether to permit such games.

According to the Fiesta Shows website, its games are "fun, easy to play and fair.

"We believe it's important to provide games that award a high quality prize to just about every player! We feature many play to you win games which guarantee a prize to every player," the site reads.

Fiesta Shows said it has upcoming shows in several places, such as Rochester and Stratham.

In Rochester, a show receives a license after going through the police chief, fire chief and city manager.

In Stratham, Code Enforcement Officer Terry Barnes said a fair license is reviewed by the police chief and eventually decided by selectmen.

In Manchester, police did consider a complaint filed by Gribbohm against Fiesta, said police spokesman Lt. Maureen Tessier.

But detectives dropped the matter after hearing that Gribbolm accepted $600 and the banana from the show.

Gribbohm said he's been subject to a lot of ridicule, and people have dug up his criminal record. In the early years of the 2000s, he was arrested for a weapons charge and several drug crimes. He's also been charged with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and, most recently, an assault charge in Manchester last February.

He spent about a year in prison on a cocaine possession charge, and his parole ended in 2009.

Now he says he loves his life and his two children, a 1 1/2-year-old and a 6-week-old.

"I've been through a lot in my life, but I've turned into an absolutely incredible gentleman," Gribbolm said. "I've got great ethics and morals. I'm an honest person."

mhayward@unionleader.com


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