Need we repeat? It ain't over until it's over. And the formal protests related to the Illinois Lottery private management contract bid process aren't over yet.
Now, sources tell us, Intralot's concerns about the manner in which its formal protest has been (mis)handled by executives with the Illinois Department of Revenue and the Lottery have been dropped in the lap of the man who made the final decision on the contract -- none other than Gov. Pat Quinn, who remains in a tight race to save his job as the state's leader.
Quinn awarded the contract to the Northstar Lottery Group on Sept. 15. Northstar is comprised of Gtech, Scientific Games and Energy BBDO, all of which currently have contracts with the Lottery.
Sources say a letter was hand delivered to the governor's office today that talks bluntly about what Intralot considers highly inappropriate actions on the part of Department of Revenue and Lottery officials. Those actions, as referenced in a posting on this blog last week, involve threatening to go public with some of the more salacious details about the background of one Socratis Kokkalis, the head of Intralot Group's parent company, which is based in Greece.
Sources indicated that Department of Revenue and Lottery executives suggested to Intralot reps during a hastily-called meeting on Sept. 12, that it might be in Intralot's best interest to drop its formal protest to avoid disclosure of unflattering information about Kokkalis dredged up by Kroll, the firm hired to do probity checks for the Illinois Lottery private management bid process.
Intralot, however, wasn't interested in dropping its protest.
On the contrary, it has escalated the protest to the governor's office. Of course, Intralot must realize that any move by the governor to investigate the situation as it now stands might be interpreted as an admission on his part that something could be wrong -- an acknowledgement Quinn could be highly reluctant to make at a delicate point in time when his political future is at stake.
But sources say plenty of other state executives and legislators, including attorney general Lisa Madigan and state senate president John Cullerton, have been carbon-copied on the Intralot letter to the governor. So plenty of eyes in positions of power and influence are watching.
Meanwhile, Camelot Group, a finalist for the Lottery private management contract, also remains very much in formal protest mode. As of late last week, Camelot had heard nothing definitive from the Department of Revenue or the Lottery regarding its protest.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue said she was hopeful some response could come on at least the Intralot Group protest by week's end. But that's not definite. "It's complicated," she said. No kidding.
But whatever does happen, rest assured, it won't be over until it's over.