HARTFORD — A contentious public meeting was held at the legislative office building Thursday, where the conduct of the state lottery was called into question by lawmakers and state auditors.
State auditors investigated several aspects of lottery operations, including a claim the agency retaliated against a whistleblower.
The Connecticut Lottery Corporation had determined Alfred DuPuis, the lottery’s Former Chief of Security, was guilty of gross neglect in the execution of his duties in relation to the investigation of the 5 Card Cash game and problems surrounding a Super Draw drawing.
DuPuis had pointed out vulnerabilities in the 5 Card Cash game in 2015. The ensuing investigation by the Department of Consumer Protection ultimately led to then-CEO Anne Noble surrendering her gaming license.
Human error with the Super Draw drawing in January 2018 forced a second drawing to be held.
State auditors concluded that based on evidence, the charge of negligence against DuPuis and his paid administrative leave, could have resulted from arbitrary or retaliatory motives. The auditors pointed out the lottery did not provide a clear explanation of how it arrived at the gross neglect charge, and that it had never before been leveled against any other lottery employee. DuPuis has filed a claim with the Commission on Human Rights and
Opportunities. The auditors note they believe CHRO is the appropriate agency to examine the questions around the neglect charge and retaliation claim.
The auditors also concluded that lottery leadership at times objected to oversight by the Department of Consumer Protection and “would sometimes not answer DCP questions or only answer them grudgingly”.
They specifically named the lottery’s current Vice President, Chelsea Turner, as a catalyst for that culture.
“Chelsea Turner is someone who I think we need to have a conversation with. That raises some issues. We have to recognize that this legislature said that the Department of Consumer Protection is the overseeing agency. You got to show respect. And if you are not going to show respect and that is the legislative wish then you need to get out of that agency,” said State Sen. Len Fasano.
Connecticut Lottery President & CEO Greg Smith said, “My goal as the new leader of this organization is to reestablish positive cooperation with the Department of Consumer protection legislators, administration and our key vendors. The Connecticut lottery wants to continue to offer our current games and other opportunities that we may become authorized to do.”
The auditors also claim lottery officials created what they called a “scheme” that allowed former CEO Anne Noble to maintain a fully vested pension upon her separation — costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Lottery officials wouldn’t comment beyond was was discussed in the public forum. Although, CEO Greg Smith said they instituted new bylaws, and internal controls to preserve the integrity of the games.
The lottery executes a small percentage of their ball draw games out of our FOX61 studios. The lottery said they are exploring future options including random computer generated drawings. Last year the lottery returned $345 million to the state coffers.