IL Lottery Chief Caught Red Handed Handing Contracts to Buddies, Dems Call for an Investigation.
Remember, back a while ago when we brought you the story of Mike Jones, the Illinois lottery commissioner who was gearing up his alleged corruption for his jump into the big time, like his little Springfield, Illinois job was merely the farm league for a much larger campaign? Sure you do. He was the guy who bid for the Illinois lottery’s privatization contract, pulled his bid, campaigned for a job with the remaining bidders, didn’t get it, and when the lottery was approved and he was given the job of commissioner, took off on a cross-country tour to trash Illinois’ decision to privatize the lottery because they didn’t put him in charge. Then, he got caught hiring expensive consultants on the state dime and tossing promotional work to his kid.
Well, he’s back, and now, local Chicago news has caught him in the act -: again – this time allegedly handing contracts worth nearly $200,000 for work with his current employer, the Illinois Lottery, to his former employer, Independent Lottery Research. And this is after the governor stepped in to stop him from doing it before.
Now, generally, stuff like this doesn’t get a lot of coverage in Illinois. After all, this guy is small potatoes compared to Illinois former governors, and the lottery runs smoothly, netting Illinois a steady income which has increased by around $100 million: annually since the private company who runs the lottery, Northstar, took over. But apparently, in this case, Mike Jones has pushed even Illinois a step too far. Yesterday afternoon, after seeing the outcry over the Fox News investigation, a: Democratic: state legislator – not a Republican – called for Jones’ head.
For his part, Jones says that he was just trying to give business to an Illinois company – after all, the state: is in dire economic straits and jobs are leaving all the time – except when it came to picking an independent consulting firm, he only had one in mind: the one that he could benefit the most from sending contracts to. It’s now likely that Jones will have to face a legislative audit and an investigation into whether any laws were broken when Jones urged the lottery’s parent company to do business with Independent Lottery Research.
Is this “score one for the good guys?” Not yet. But as we well know from what’s in Washington, keeping Illinois’ politicians where they belong is key to all of our happiness.