“Given the example of Illinois, why would any state opt for the same system?” [IL Lottery Director Mike] Jones said. “[Northstar] was only hired because of its ability to meet revenue targets, but it has immediately disputed those.”
He is trying to get the word out to other states not to lock in such long contracts and to make any privatization a truly competitive process in which the state can fire companies that aren’t performing.
We've covered Jones' obsession with injecting himself, unwanted, into other states' affairs where they concern changes to that states' lottery. Mostly, states like Indiana, which instituted a successful private lottery system some months ago, have ignored Jones' suggestions and have instead looked to Illinois' privatization success. The approach makes sense, since Jones' primary objection to Illinois' bidding process when it came to privatizing the state lottery is that his scheme to earn the state's business failed miserably.
If Pennsylvania does choose to seek out Mike Jones' advice, perhaps, though, they should look at the whole picture. Even while it has emerged that Jones negotiated with key players in Illinois privatization plan to attempt to earn himself a hefty profit as a consultant, and while it's become clear he's been traveling the world on the taxpayers' dime, even as Illinois struggles with a declining economy that recently earned it's credit rating a downgrade, it seems we've only begun to scratch the surface of Mike Jones' intriguing record.
Illinois citizens are struggling to find jobs, but the Illinois lottery, and Mike Jones, specifically, seems to be hiring at an incongruous rate. This year, Jones hired Scarlet Robinson, an Internet gaming consultant based out of Las Vegas, Nevada, to consult to the Illinois lottery. For only six months of work, that seems to have produced no searchable results or obvious improvement in the Illinois lottery, Ms. Robinson was paid a whopping $155,000. And for a lottery commissioner so obsessed with the apparent lack of transparency in the bidding process for the lottery he now runs, there doesn't seem to be much of a paper trail when it comes to a bidding process for his own lottery consultants.
A source also tells Illinois Review that the Illinois Lottery is pushing a lucrative $192,000, sole source contract to a consultant named Craig Scott to examine Internet lottery sales. Since the program is a pilot program, a public hearing should have been held for interested parties, but there seems to be no hearing on the books, officially, although a hearing on closed contracts being held today will hopefully addressed this particularl contract, we hear.
It's not much, but it's enough to raise a few eyebrows - and more than a few questions, especially considering Jones' is heading out to other states to claim that Illinois privatization process lacked the kind of transparency government operations should have. If he's so concerned about a transparent process when it comes to hiring people to help Illinois make money, why isn't his office being upfront about the kind of people they hire to do the same thing?