This story originally appeared in The News & Observer on February 2, 2006.
Lottery company Scientific Games of Georgia has given federal investigators “documents and other information” about the state’s lottery scandal, according to a new disclosure made as part of the company’s failed bid to win lottery contracts.
For the first time, the company says it is cooperating with a federal probe, but the company indicates that it is not a subject of the federal investigation.
The company also disclosed that state authorities and the Wake County district attorney are scrutinizing the company’s actions as part of an inquiry into possible violations of lobbying laws.
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In the disclosure, the company did not provide any other details about what it gave to federal investigators, who will not comment on their probe.
Scientific Games senior vice president Rick Gates said Wednesday the company would not comment beyond the nine-paragraph statement given to lottery officials as part its bid to operate the games.
In it, the company repeated earlier statements that it is not aware of any law it has broken.
The lottery vendor also:
- Outlined why it hired Meredith Norris, a top political aide to House Speaker Jim Black.
- Said it did not want company consultant Kevin Geddings of Charlotte to take a seat on the state lottery commission.
- Provided new details on its role in shaping the state’s new lottery law.
Company executives said in the filing that company lobbyist and vice president Alan Middleton told them he hired Norris “initially as a potential lobbyist and then only as a consultant to monitor legislative developments and news, to make appointments and to provide strategic advice.”
Scientific Games said “she was not expected to lobby and therefore did not need to register according to the lobbying statute.”
Records show that Norris, who was Black’s unpaid political director and played a key role in his fund-raising efforts, was paid $40,000 by the company this year. She also was reimbursed more than $3,000 by the company for dinners with Black and some other legislators.
Norris had not registered as a lobbyist for the company, and said she was fired by the company after The News & Observer disclosed that she was working for it.
Scientific Games also says in the report that it paid Geddings and his communications firm for work in two other states and North Carolina. It says a payment it made to him after Black appointed him to the lottery commission was for work done before the appointment.
The disclosure also said the company was not in favor of Geddings taking a seat on the commission.
“Mr. Middleton told us that he did not assist or encourage Mr. Geddings’ effort to become a commissioner but rather opposed it when informed it was going to happen,” the company said.
No other details are provided.
The company acknowledged that it “specifically suggested” changes in the law before it was final to “strengthen sections concerning vendor compliance activities” as part of choosing the bids.
A memo by Middleton, disclosed last year, indicates that he wanted to help keep others out of the bidding.
On Monday, lottery commissioners chose rival GTECH Holdings of Rhode Island to operate the state’s scratch-off ticket and pick ‘em numbers games.