New CT lottery chief draws flak over his response to auditors’ report on Jan. 1 drawing disaster

New CT lottery chief draws flak over his response to auditors’ report on Jan. 1 drawing disaster

The Connecticut Lottery Corp.’s new president and CEO, Gregory Smith, used to be employed this previous July amid hopes of a contemporary get started for the company that used to be hit via a million-dollar mistake in a Jan. 1 drawing, after enduring two years of turmoil following a fraud scandal that close down the five Card Cash recreation in 2015.

But Smith has briefly been drawn into an argument stemming from the ones exact same issues — after writing a letter to two key state legislators through which he defended the lottery company for movements that have been taken sooner than he arrived in Connecticut.

Smith despatched a letter Tuesday to Senate Republican chief Len Fasano and Rep. Joe Verrengia, co-chairman of the General Assembly committee that oversees the lottery, telling them Nov. 2 report via state auditors John Geragosian and Rob Kane omitted “key details” in its description of instances surrounding a million-dollar error in a drawing ultimate Jan. 1.

“[W]e feel that it is important to provide some additional information so that actions can be better understood and clarity can be provided where key details are missing,” Smith wrote. Among the main points he discussed have been that Alfred W. DuPuis — the previous lottery safety chief who retired Nov. 1 moderately than face doable self-discipline for alleged “gross neglect” within the incorrect New Year’s Super Draw — had certainly made “clear errors in executing his responsibilities.”

“We hope these are beneficial to your understanding of the matter,” Smith wrote to Fasano and Verrengia.

They were not really useful, Fasano stated.

The Senate GOP chief — who has been an energetic player in investigative hearings via Verrengia’s public protection committee in regards to the lottery since 2017 — stated he questioned why the newly arrived Smith would assume it is a good suggestion to lift such an quantity of water for many who preceded him; he used to be head of the Illinois lottery on the time of the issues the Connecticut auditors wrote about.

“The auditors did a report. They are a nonpartisan staff that does excellent work, and the Lottery Corporation has to accept this report and take their criticism and make changes. I am not interested in excuses,” Fasano advised Government Watch in a telephone interview Wednesday.

Fasano famous that he and Verrengia had requested the auditors to examine the Jan. 1 drawing disaster, in addition to DuPuis’ declare that he used to be being singled out for retaliation over his reporting of issues within the five Card Cash recreation that had to be close down as a result of store fraud in 2015. And he known as it “insulting” that Smith wrote a letter on behalf of his company to “rebuke” the auditors’ findings.

“I am going to ignore that letter in its entirety as sort of a failed attempt to sway me away from the real facts and independent investigation. And I thought [the auditors] went lenient on them, frankly. They punted the ball [on the question of retaliation against DuPuis] to the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities.”

‘Whispering in his ear’

“They let them off, I think, lightly,” Fasano stated. “And now this new guy has inserted himself in facts that he has no firsthand knowledge of. It’s facts he’s learning about from the insiders who were involved…. He could say, ‘It’s a new legislature and a new governor, and let’s move on,’ but instead, he inserts himself in facts he has no knowledge about, probably from people whispering in his ear.”

Verrengia, for his phase, stated: “The auditors’ report and [the lottery’s] response are not the end-all to our inquiry. I am confident that additional public hearings will be held in the near future.” He stated the hearings most probably could be early subsequent yr, including: “It’s on the front burner.”

And so welcome to Connecticut, Greg Smith — who discovered an afternoon after sending his letter, if he did not know already, what a high-voltage twine he had touched. Told of the lawmakers’ feedback,Tara Chozet, the lottery’s director of public family members and social media, stated best: “We provided information that we did not see included in the [auditors’] November 2 report.”

Smith used to be no longer the one letter creator amongst present lottery officers with reference to the auditors’ report to Verrengia and Fasano. Don DeFronzo, the chairman of the lottery’s board of administrators, wrote to Geragosian and Kane on Nov. eight, declaring that despite the fact that they recommended there used to be “no basis for the finding of neglect” towards DuPuis, “In fact, I believe the detailed… internal report [by the lottery’s administration earlier this year] constitutes a factual basis and rationale for the findings of negligence.”

DeFronzo additionally reiterated to the auditors his public statements that DuPuis hasn’t been the sufferer of retaliation for having advised the former lottery CEO, Anne Noble, in 2015 of the five Card Cash recreation’s vulnerability to fraud via other people in retail lottery shops. (People in such Connecticut shops discovered how to compromise the sport, which in the end ended in 15 arrests).

“When you reach the unsubstantiated conclusion that a charge of gross neglect ‘could have’ resulted from arbitrary or retaliatory motives, I would contend that the facts and record… just as likely lead to a conclusion that these actions may not have been the result of retaliation, but rather from the specified performance concerns,” DeFronzo wrote.

As for Smith’s letter to the 2 legislators Tuesday, he downplayed the importance of what DuPuis had stated about five Card Cash’s vulnerability to compromise.

“The actual problems… encountered with 5 Card Cash that ultimately led to the criminal conviction of certain retailers were not related to the concerns raised by Mr. DuPuis to Ms. Noble prior to the launch of the game,” Smith wrote. “Fred DuPuis did raise a well-known concern about the 5 Card Cash game while it was being evaluated as a product before it was sold in Connecticut. The vulnerabilities he pointed out concerned the potential for retailers to quickly read the tickets before handing them to customers and making the decision to keep the ticket for themselves — referred to as ‘palming.'”

‘Not novel or new’

But Smith stated that DuPuis’ “comments about ‘palming’ were not novel or new,” and that “every lottery considers this and takes some action to address it.”

The five Card Cash recreation used to be compromised in Connecticut when workers at lottery shops discovered some way to print out successful tickets for themselves via slowing down the gaming terminal’s printing with repeated instructions — to the purpose the place a show on the device advised them which numbers could be on the following tickets revealed.

Smith then became to the Jan. 1 disaster — through which a five-member group that ran the automatic quantity variety used a short lived “checklist” as a substitute of a complete set of illustrated directions, and entered a variety of price tag numbers that unnoticed 100,00zero tickets from the variability of doable winners.

“Mr. DuPuis’ support and participation in the development and use of an unapproved checklist for the CT Super Draw were clear errors in executing his responsibilities,” Smith wrote. “The checklist that he and his staff prepared was missing critical content that was the basis for the error that occurred. His clearly documented development and approval of the checklist and instructions for its use were directly responsible for the error that occurred.”

Neither DuPuis nor the lottery’s performing CEO on the time, Chelsea Turner, have been provide — nor have been they required to be — on the Jan. 1 drawing that used to be run via subordinates of DuPuis and representatives of the state Department of Consumer Protection, which oversees legislation of state lottery video games. Turner, at the start employed via CEO Noble in 2010, is now most sensible deputy to Smith on the lottery.

As a results of the Jan. 1 downside, a do-over drawing had to be held in mid-January. There used to be a $1 million loss to the state, in addition to disciplinary movements together with unpaid suspensions towards lower-ranking workers of each the lottery and shopper coverage division who mishandled the drawing.

The giant, lingering results of the Jan. 1 downside is a pending “whistleblower complaint” via DuPuis to the Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities that lottery officers’ allegation towards him of “gross neglect” stemmed from a vendetta over his function 3 years in the past in exposing the fraud within the five Card Cash recreation.

Present and previous lottery officers have denied the claims that DuPuis makes within the criticism he filed in May with the CHRO — which has scheduled a listening to/trial in April.

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