State Politics

A tale of one consultant and several state lotteries

Sept. 17, 1999: Kevin Geddings resigns as chief of staff to newly elected South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges. Geddings' public relations firm soon becomes a consultant to a coalition pushing for a South Carolina lottery.

May 30, 2000: The coalition submits an invoice to Scientific Games requesting $25,000 be paid to Geddings' firm for a radio campaign.

Aug. 8, 2000: Hodges writes a reminder on behalf of the coalition to Scientific Games to pay $25,000 as part of its pledge to the lottery campaign. The company sends a check 10 days later.

Nov. 7, 2000: South Carolina voters approve a lottery. Scientific Games later wins the contract to operate it.

January 2001: Geddings' firm is hired by Automated Wagering International, a company that services lottery systems, in part to help create a lottery in Tennessee. Scientific Games buys AWI's operations in November 2003.

April 2, 2001: Geddings' firm submits an invoice to AWI seeking payment for work that included "Mtg w/Gov. [Mike] Easley re: NC Lottery."

Mid-2002: Geddings begins working with Scientific Games to drum up interest in a lottery in North Carolina.

March 30, 2005: Scientific Games hires "a North Carolina lobbyist with ties to the leadership of the North Carolina legislature" to help the company push for a lottery. The indictment does not identify the lobbyist, but the company has disclosed it hired Meredith Norris, a lobbyist and House Speaker Jim Black's unpaid political director.

April 6, 2005: The House passes a lottery bill 61-59.

May 26, 2005: Geddings and a "Scientific Games representative" help state Sen. Tony Rand prepare for a debate with a lottery opponent. The indictment does not identify the representative, but the company has disclosed that vice president Alan Middleton hired Geddings.

May 31, 2005: Geddings and the Scientific Games representative agree on a $5,000-a-month consulting contract that includes work on a North Carolina lottery campaign.

Mid-August 2005: The N.C. Association of Educators hires Geddings' firm to produce radio ads in the districts of three senators opposed to a lottery.

Aug. 30, 2005: Two of the three senators are absent as the Senate votes on a lottery. Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue breaks a 24-24 tie in favor of a lottery.

Aug. 31, 2005: Easley signs the lottery into law.

Sept. 6, 2005: Geddings e-mails the Scientific Games lobbyist: "I know you are having to beg to get folks to serve on the Lottery Board ... :) However, if you want a foot soldier to serve who will be loyal to the Speaker, keep me in mind."

Sept. 10, 2005: The N&O reports that Scientific Games hired Norris as a consultant for the 2005 legislative session.

Sept. 22, 2005: The Scientific Games lobbyist e-mails Geddings: "I just wanted to make sure that the Speaker got up with you a short while ago ... he called me to ask for your mobile number. ... " Black announces Geddings' selection to the lottery commission.

Sept. 23, 2005: The N&O reports that Geddings had acknowledged a friendship with Middleton, and that Geddings had leased office space to Middleton.

Sept. 26, 2005: Geddings e-mails his executive assistant: "Pls never acknowledge by phone that sci games is a client ..."

Sept. 28, 2005: Geddings forwards information about a potential candidate for state lottery director to the lottery commission chairman's assistant.

Oct. 6, 2005: The N&O reports that Geddings and Middleton had a past business relationship.

Oct. 7, 2005: Geddings files a statement of economic interest with the N.C. Board of Ethics, in which he makes no mention of his work for Scientific Games and AWI. He cites no conflicts of interest.

Oct. 10, 2005: A staff member of the ethics board tells Geddings he should modify his economic interest statement to include his friendship with Middleton and his previous business relationship with Middleton. Geddings makes the disclosure, but adds "I currently have no business relationship with [Middleton], although he remains a friend."

Oct. 14, 2005: The N&O reports that Middleton had a hand in writing the state lottery law with the apparent intent of keeping other companies out.

Nov. 1, 2005: Geddings resigns, saying negative publicity was detracting from the lottery. Less than two hours later, Scientific Games files a lobbying disclosure report that shows it employed Geddings this year and paid him at least $24,500 for his services.

Nov. 2, 2005: The state announces a criminal investigation into whether Geddings, Norris, Middleton and Scientific Games violated the state's lobbying laws.

SOURCES: FEDERAL INDICTMENT, NEWS REPORTS

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