Lot­tery chief’s let­ter draws ire

Hartford Courant (Sunday) - - Sunday Ct - JON LENDER jlen­[email protected]

The Con­necti­cut Lot­tery Corp.’s new pres­i­dent and CEO, Gre­gory Smith, was hired this past July amid hopes of a fresh start for the agency that was hit by a mil­lion-dol­lar mis­take in a Jan. 1 draw­ing, af­ter en­dur­ing two years of tur­moil fol­low­ing a fraud scan­dal that shut down the 5 Card Cash game in 2015.

But Smith has quickly been drawn into a con­tro­versy stem­ming from those very same prob­lems — af­ter writ­ing a let­ter to two key state leg­is­la­tors in which he de­fended the lot­tery agency for ac­tions that were taken be­fore he ar­rived in Con­necti­cut.

Smith sent a let­ter Tues­day to Se­nate Repub­li­can leader Len Fasano and Rep. Joe Ver­ren­gia, co-chair­man of the Gen­eral As­sem­bly com­mit­tee that over­sees the lot­tery, telling them that a Nov. 2 re­port by state au­di­tors John Ger­agosian and Rob Kane left out “key de­tails” in its de­scrip­tion of cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing a mil­lion-dol­lar er­ror in a draw­ing last Jan. 1.

“(W)e feel that it is im­por­tant to pro­vide some ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion so that ac­tions can be bet­ter un­der­stood and clar­ity can be pro­vided where key de­tails are miss­ing,” Smith wrote. Among the de­tails he men­tioned were that Al­fred W. DuPuis — the for­mer lot­tery se­cu­rity chief who re­tired Nov. 1 rather than face po­ten­tial dis­ci­pline for al­leged “gross ne­glect” in the flawed New Year’s Su­per Draw — had in­deed made “clear er­rors in ex­e­cut­ing his re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.”

“We hope these are ben­e­fi­cial to your un­der­stand­ing of the mat­ter,” Smith wrote to Fasano and Ver­ren­gia.

They weren’t ben­e­fi­cial, Fasano said.

The Se­nate GOP leader — who has been an ac­tive par­tic­i­pant in in­ves­tiga­tive hear­ings by Ver­ren­gia’s pub­lic safety com­mit­tee about the lot­tery since 2017 — said he won­dered why the newly ar­rived Smith would think it’s a good idea to carry such an amount of wa­ter for those who pre­ceded him; he was head of the Illi­nois lot­tery at the time of the prob­lems the Con­necti­cut au­di­tors wrote about.

“The au­di­tors did a re­port. They are a non­par­ti­san staff that does ex­cel­lent work, and the Lot­tery Cor­po­ra­tion has to ac­cept this re­port and take their crit­i­cism and make changes. I am not in­ter­ested in ex­cuses,”

Fasano told Gov­ern­ment Watch in a phone in­ter­view Wed­nes­day.

Fasano noted that he and Ver­ren­gia had asked the au­di­tors to in­ves­ti­gate the Jan. 1 draw­ing dis­as­ter, as well as DuPuis’ claim that he was be­ing sin­gled out for re­tal­i­a­tion over his re­port­ing of prob­lems in the 5 Card Cash game that had to be shut down be­cause of re­tailer fraud in 2015. And he called it “in­sult­ing” that Smith wrote a let­ter on be­half of

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.