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The Illinois Lottery private management bid: A holiday bombshell

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Happy holidays! The surprises in the protracted process to name a private manager for the Illinois Lottery just keep on coming. Not the kind of surprises, however, one likes to hear about around the holidays.

The latest bombshell has to do with the probity checks the Illinois Department of Revenue and the Lottery supposedly hired the Kroll firm to conduct. As we all know by now, Kroll went overboard (some might say way overboard) doing an exhaustive probity check on Intralot, the contender that was dumped within days after the cutoff for submitting a bid for the Illinois Lottery private management contract.

Intralot has been in the middle of an aggressive protest of that entire bid process and the outcome for the past three months -- ever since Gov. Pat Quinn named the Northstar Lottery Group the putative winner of the private management contract on Sept. 15. Northstar is comprised of Gtech, Scientific Games and Energy BBDO/Chicago. Camelot Group, the other losing contender for the private management contract, has protested the outcome as well.

But back to the latest bombshell. It came to light late last week that the Illinois Lottery and Kroll apparently never conducted a full-blown probity check of either Northstar or Camelot while the Lottery was going through the protracted process of selecting the winning bidder.

And even though a probity check of the winner was supposed to be conducted before any contract is signed, no such check appears to have been conducted. Not yet at least. And here we are three months after the announcement of Northstar as the presumptive winning bidder.

Needless to say, sources tell us Intralot executives were aghast when this bombshell news got to them via John McCaffrey, the acting freedom of information officer at the Illinois Department of Revenue. It's revelations such as this one, of course, that have skeptics continuing to believe the entire private management bid process was rigged from the get go.

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Lewis Lazare has written the Media Mix column for the Chicago Sun-Times for the past seven and a half years.

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This page contains a single entry by Lewis Lazare published on December 20, 2010 1:09 PM.

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