See the press release below from state Rep. Bob Rita in response to a joint investigation by the Better Government Association and WFLD-TV Fox 32 in Chicago on hiring at the Illinois Lottery. As a leading voice on gambling issues in the Legislature, Bob has serious concerns about the behavior by the Lottery director alleged in this piece and wants accountability.
I’d be glad to connect you with Bob to talk more about the issues raised in the piece. You can see it here:
Let me know if you need more.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rep. Rita Calls for Answers on State Lottery Contracting
Media Investigation Raises Important Questions About Ties Between Business and Lottery Director
Date: Sept. 30, 2013 Contact: Ryan Keith,217-737-7369
BLUE ISLAND – State Rep. Bob Rita is calling for answers in the wake of a joint media investigation that alleges the state Lottery director helped steer business to his former company.
The Better Government Association and WFLD-TV Fox 32 in Chicago last week reported that Jones lobbied the Lottery’s private operator, Northstar Lottery Group, to give a contract worth nearly $170,000 to a company that Jones formerly owned.
The report also contended that Jones initially lobbied in 2011 for a research contract to go to the company but that idea was rejected when the governor’s office learned of the situation. The company then changed its name, and Jones later successfully persuaded Northstar to give it the contract – a move Northstar says it made under strong urging by Jones.
Rita, a Blue Island Democrat who now heads the House’s consideration of gambling legislation, said he was troubled both by the allegations and Jones’ responses to the reporters. He is asking the Legislative Audit Commission, which he sits on, to look further into this contract and a troubling audit from the summer that raised extensive questions about bookkeeping and financial management at the Lottery.
“We now have more questions than answers,” Rita said. “We have worked in Springfield to tighten our contracting and lobbying laws to try to restore faith with taxpayers that we know the difference between right and wrong. Investigations like this demand better explanations. I would ask Mr. Jones to come clean about his relationship with his former firm and urge my colleagues in Springfield to take a closer look at how we can prevent these kinds of situations from happening again.”
The BGA-Fox investigation can be found here: http://www.myfoxaustin.com/story/23509752/what-are-the-odds-ill-lottery-paid-for-contracts-to-lotto-chiefs-old-company