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By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
Topic - Emmanuel S. Bailey
The possibility of manipulation of the 2009 D.C. Lottery contract is not the only corruption angle that has drawn the attention of government investigators.
With online gambling off the table for now, D.C. officials are grappling with how to rectify the questionable local business certification of a firm that controls a 51 percent share of the $38 million D.C. Lottery contract.
Within weeks of an inspector general's report that criticized a bid by the D.C. Lottery to launch a first-in-the-nation online gambling program, the deal was dead.
The D.C. Council took a major step Tuesday toward reconfiguring the city's $38 million lottery contract when it voted to repeal an online gambling law once urged by its supporters as a pivotal revenue source for the city.
Odds are slim that the District's first-in-the-nation bid to launch online gambling through the D.C. Lottery will go forward without further review, D.C. Council members say.
D.C. Council member Jack Evans' self-described "catch-up after the fact" hearing to evaluate the D.C.'s first-in-the-nation online gambling proposal was as notable for what did not happen Thursday as for what did.
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.
D.C. Lottery fans will have to wait until 11 a.m. Tuesday to buy lottery tickets, an unprecedented five-hour delay in service that signals, along with other factors, that the conversion from a decades-old gaming system to a new one run by Greek-based Intralot and its D.C. partner has not gone well.
Ambrose Oliver was strapped for cash when his girlfriend suggested he move from Arizona to Maryland, go into business with her uncle and his associates, and go after minority set-aside contracts. Three years later, Mr. Oliver is back on the Navajo reservation, still stinging from the disappointment of plans gone awry.
When the D.C. Council approved the city's lottery contract in December, two members spoke before the vote on behalf of the local firm that walked away with a majority stake in the deal: Chairman Vincent C. Gray and Marion Barry.
A week before the D.C. Council overwhelmingly approved a $38 million lottery contract to Greek gaming giant Intralot, veteran D.C. lawyer Roderic L. Woodson testified before a council committee about a problematic aspect of the deal.
Of all the questions generated by the unprecedented path to the D.C. Council's approval of a $38 million lottery contract, the biggest remains unanswered: How did an unexamined local firm with questionable credentials end up with a majority equity share of the lottery after the contract had been awarded to an international gambling giant?
The majority partner of the company running the D.C. Lottery had boasted on its corporate website of general contracting experience from federal jobs it did not perform for government clients who had never heard of it, according to a review by The Washington Times.
Mr. Bailey was presented as a partner in the lottery deal, said at a hearing that he was "mightily impressed" with VSC, which had hired a former lottery executive from Florida.
"The inspector general report was cursory," he said. "I see significant legal defects and the CFO has not done his job."