By Douglas Holtz-Eakin
The young drop coverage to avoid higher premiums
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
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.
A previously unexamined internal memo drafted by the Greek gambling firm that won the District of Columbia's $38 million-a-year lottery contract in 2008 and again after a rebid a year later offers an inside view of a toxic climate that prompted the vendor to spend more time worrying about local political machinations than about the lottery itself.
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.
He's paid up to $300,000 a year. He lives in a $1.3 million house in Northwest, with a Bentley, a Range Rover and a Mercedes in the driveway. Yet renowned lobbyist and power broker David W. Wilmot uses the claim he is "economically disadvantaged" when doing business with the city.
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 local half of a joint venture that runs the D.C. Lottery misrepresented its business activities during its bid for a stake in the $38 million contract, according to a report by the D.C. inspector general.
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.
Change did not come easily Tuesday for D.C. Lottery retailers and customers, who waited in lines and struggled with a new lottery system run by Greek gaming giant Intralot and Maryland businessman Emmanuel S. Bailey.
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.
D.C. mayoral candidate Vincent C. Gray prides himself on loyalty and longevity in his relationships, relying for advice on a small cadre of confidants and friends who are also established figures in D.C. politics.
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.
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."