Lot­tery con­tract fight on hold

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - LOCAL - By Jim Turner News Ser­vice of Florida

Amid set­tle­ment talks, a stay has been is­sued in the state House’s chal­lenge to the le­gal­ity of a ticket-sales con­tract signed last year by the Florida Lot­tery.

The 1st District Court of Ap­peal posted on its web­site that a joint mo­tion for a stay was granted Thurs­day as the two sides con­tin­ued to ne­go­ti­ate amid lead­er­ship turnover at the lot­tery.

The web­site said the stay is pend­ing a fur­ther or­der from the court.

“If the case has not been dis­missed in the in­terim, the par­ties shall file a sta­tus re­port no later than Au­gust 31, 2017, ad­vis­ing the court of the need for any fur­ther pro­ceed­ings,” the court posted on its web­site.

The gov­er­nor’s of­fice on Mon­day de­ferred to a July 7 joint mo­tion by at­tor­neys for the House and the lot­tery re­quest­ing an ex­ten­sion to file briefs that were due that day.

“The par­ties are now en­gaged in good faith ne­go­ti­a­tions in an at­tempt to re­solve this dis­pute, and be­lieve that the like­li­hood of achiev­ing a sat­is­fac­tory res­o­lu­tion will be en­hanced if they do not have to so­lid­ify their po­si­tions by fil­ing briefs dur­ing ne­go­ti­a­tions,” the two-page joint mo­tion said.

House Speaker Richard Cor­co­ran’s of­fice did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment Mon­day.

The dis­pute fo­cuses on a longterm con­tract be­tween the lot­tery and IGT Global So­lu­tions Corp. Un­der the deal, IGT gets a slice of the sales of tick­ets, ma­chines and other ser­vices.

In the past, the lot­tery paid a fixed amount to es­sen­tially lease each lot­tery ma­chine.

When the suit was filed, the con­tract was es­ti­mated to be worth $12.9 mil­lion for the bud­get year that be­gan July 1.

The con­tract, to run un­til 2028 with an op­tion to 2031, was signed in Septem­ber by for­mer lot­tery Sec­re­tary Tom Dela­censerie.

Dela­censerie re­signed in May for a job as the leader of the Ken­tucky Lot­tery Cor­po­ra­tion. He was re­placed at the Florida Lot­tery by Jim Pop­pell, who had been chief of staff at the De­part­ment of Eco­nomic Op­por­tu­nity.

Cor­co­ran ar­gued that the con­tract is il­le­gal be­cause it would spend more money on ticket sales than the Leg­is­la­ture pre­vi­ously ap­proved for that pur­pose. The lot­tery coun­tered that the con­tract says IGT will only get its full pay­ments if the Leg­is­la­ture ap­proves the spend­ing.

The lot­tery had ar­gued in court that the new ar­range­ment was aimed at try­ing to max­i­mize the prof­its of the agency, which helps fund state ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams.

Leon County Cir­cuit Judge Karen Giev­ers ruled in Cor­co­ran’s fa­vor March 7, agree­ing that the con­tract didn’t meet the re­quire­ments of state law.

“As a re­sult, the lot­tery sec­re­tary lacked the le­gal author­ity to en­ter into the IGT con­tract, which must there­fore be found to be void and un­en­force­able,” Giev­ers wrote.

The gov­er­nor’s of­fice has con­tended the rul­ing could en­dan­ger fund­ing for ed­u­ca­tion.

“The Florida Lot­tery con­tin­ues to make record con­tri­bu­tions to our pub­lic schools and to­day’s rul­ing jeop­ar­dizes bil­lions of dol­lars for Florida stu­dents,” Scott said in a re­lease dis­agree­ing with the rul­ing.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.