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Emails show fight for D.C. Lottery contract
Question of the Day
The day after Christmas 2008, as then-D.C. Council Chairman Vincent C. Gray was blocking approval of a contract award to run the D.C. Lottery, a Maryland businessman delivered bad news to the man who, along with international gambling giant Intralot, had won the pact through competitive bidding.
“There is a strong push to re-bid,” wrote Emmanuel S. Bailey, foreshadowing a bruising fight over the $38 million lottery contract and what few at the time could have known would be its first-in-the-nation effort to legalize an online gambling program that would be worth millions of dollars, if successful.
“A lot of damage done by pushing for a vote,” Mr. Bailey wrote, in widely distributed but previously unreported emails obtained by The Washington Times. He was referring to the yearlong effort to get Mr. Gray to submit to a council vote a lottery award containing Intralot’s partner at the time, Warren C. Williams Jr., an ally of then-Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and a nemesis of Mr. Gray. “Forces don’t want you guys in the lead decision making role.”
“We will get this done,” Mr. Bailey said in a follow-up email. “Failure is NOT an option.”
Mr. Bailey was not, at the time, a party to the lottery negotiations. Neither a contract bidder nor a representative of Mr. Williams or the city, he nevertheless self-assuredly advised the man whose company actually had won the contract with Intralot.
It remains unclear what “forces” Mr. Bailey referred to in his December 2008 note to Mr. Williams. But two months before the emails were sent, on Oct. 29, 2008, Mr. Bailey met behind closed doors with Mr. Gray and Intralot’s lobbyist, former D.C. Council member Kevin P. Chavous.
All parties acknowledged the meeting took place, but none would disclose to The Times what was discussed.
Mr. Gray’s office did not respond to written requests for comment.
By the end of 2008, with Mr. Gray and the council refusing to vote on the lottery award, it was clear Mr. Williams‘ place on the Intralot team was in jeopardy. But, according to the emails, Mr. Bailey was outlining a plan that purported to preserve the contract for Mr. Williams by enlisting Mr. Fenty’s support to cut Mr. Bailey in on the lottery deal.
“From a business strategy standpoint, I suggest you do this,” Mr. Bailey wrote on Jan. 5, 2009.
“Our Nupe could be the one that is viewed by the public as bringing ‘smart’ resolution to this problem,” he added, referring to Mr. Fenty by the nickname for members of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity, of which Mr. Fenty and Mr. Bailey are members.
“The beauty here is that you (Warren) and our Nupe can say that you both turned to LONG-TIME friends and business colleagues to bring in additional expertise. You could also state that you approached me a year or two years ago.”
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About the Author
By Andrew P. Napolitano
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