posted on May 29, 2007 12:50
It’s probably not another blockbuster scandal. But a tiny black cloud just floated over the Lottery Commission’s horizon.
The Charlotte Observer (5-19-07) reports that the firm hired to conduct one of the lottery audits is not registered to do business in the state and was not investigated by state officials before beginning the work. It also reports the firm – Alabama based Tidwell LLC – is battling a $4 million negligence lawsuit in Atlanta.
Tidwell shrugs off the charge. It says it didn’t have to register “because an information technology expert, not a CPA, was in Raleigh doing the work.”
But Robert Brooks – executive director of the North Carolina State CPA Board – disagreed. He said:
“It doesn’t matter if they sent monkeys in here, they have to be registered.”
He added, “Tidwell did try to register in January, but its application was returned because it filled out the wrong paperwork.”
So the firm the Lottery Commission hired to do an audit couldn’t fill out a form properly.
Maybe all this will come down to is a petty argument about the difference between CPAs and monkeys. It’s all probably just a tempest in a teapot. But a different kind of alarm bell went off when The Observer asked the Lottery Commission for an explanation. The consultant who recommended Tidwell promptly pulled up the drawbridge. He said: No comment. Ask the state.
The Observer did just that. But official lottery spokesperson Alice Garland was no more forthcoming. She said:
“Whether they are registered or not does not impact the quality of their work.”
That is a time honored political tradition press spokesman use when dealing with nosey reporters. A dodge. It works like this: argue about something else. But don’t answer the question.
The Observer then asked Tom Shaheen, the state lottery director, to comment. This time the lottery spokesperson resorted to another time-honored tradition. A stonewall. She said the issue wasn’t important enough to ask Shaheen about.
This probably isn’t a scandal. But with all its no commenting and huffing and puffing the Lottery Commission is certainly making it look like it has something to hide. Why not just say, ‘We screwed up and we’ll fix it?’ And put everyone’s mind at ease?
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