August 04, 2020

Sweepstakes directors angry at audit criticizing commission

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — New Hampshire’s lottery director wants someone fired. Vermont’s director wants some answers.

They are talking about a draft audit report critical of the Tri-State Lotto Commission, which runs several lottery games for Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

The problem is that someone released the draft to the media before members of the commission saw it.

“At the very least, it’s very poor professional ethics,” New Hampshire’s Jim Wimsatt said Friday at the monthly meeting of the Tri-State Lotto Commission. He said whoever released the report should be fired.

His Vermont counterpart, Frederick McGibney, said he is gathering responses to questions from the auditor regarding the draft. Responses are due back by Thursday. McGibney said the report contained inaccuracies and raised only minor issues.

The audit determined that accounting procedures need to be improved, said Kim Moore, spokeswoman for the commission.

The report, written at the request of a Maine legislative committee, recommends changing the way the commission runs. It found that:

State lottery employees perform work for the Tri-State Lottery in ways that auditors say create conflicts of interest.

Commission officials pay premium rates at a New Hampshire hotel during monthly meetings, spending more than if they stayed at a government rate.

Individual state lottery funds mingle with money set aside to run the Tri-State Lottery Commission.

Firms doing business with the three-member panel were asked by commission members to pay costs of social events at conventions attended by Tri-State Lottery officials.

“At the heart of this is an unhealthy mesh of Tri-State expenses and individual state expenses,” said Vermont Auditor Ed Flanagan.

“We’re talking about expense funds that don’t have tight reins, that can be applied and spent at the unbridled discretion of any administrator,” he said.

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