Home News Local news STRIDIRON: GOVERNOR NOT AGAINST LOTTERY AUDIT

STRIDIRON: GOVERNOR NOT AGAINST LOTTERY AUDIT

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March 4, 2003 – Attorney General Iver Stridiron said on Tuesday that the Turnbull administration does not object to Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg's desire to access V.I. Lottery financial records for an audit of the agency.
Stridiron said he told Lottery personnel not to comply with the Senate Finance Committee chair's probe last week because Donastorg had not issued proper notification.
On Feb. 24, Donastorg and the Legislature's assistant post auditor were turned away at the door of the Lottery's St. Thomas offices when they arrived seeking documents related to the agency's operation and revenues and details about contracts with Caribbean Lottery Services and the Powerball game provers. (See "Senate Lottery audit hits administration wall".)
Stridiron said he had been unaware of the Finance Committee audit until that days, when the V.I. Lottery executive director, Austin Andrews, received a telephone call from an aide during a cabinet meeting where Stridiron also was present. The call concerned Donastorg and the post audit staff member's arrival seeking the financial documents.
"I advised Andrews he should tell the auditors to leave" and ask them to petition the governor first, Stridiron said.
It has been more than 20 years since the Senate post auditor last conducted an audit of any government agency, but Donastorg said he felt it was an appropriate function. He noted that the last time an independent auditor reviewed the financial records of various government agencies, those of the V.I. Lottery were not included.
In a letter to Andrews dated Feb. 5, Donastorg cited V.I. Code authority for the post auditor to audit the V.I. Lottery books.
According to Nicole Bollentini, spokeswoman for Donastorg, plans also are under way for the Finance Committee to audit VITRAN, the Y2K computer compliance program, the payroll deduction program and various Housing Parks and Recreation Department programs..
Stridiron cited the separation of powers in the executive, legislative and judicial branches as the reason that notification of the audit would have to be transmitted to Andrews from his boss, the governor. The attorney general said he had not seen Donastorg's letter to Andrews but does not question the right of the Finance chair to take the action. However, he said he did have questions about the ability of the post auditor to do the work.
"We would like to be sure the audit would be done accurately," he said. "If you try to cram too much down the throat of an already overburdened post auditor, well, it raises the old adage 'Garbage in, garbage out,'" the attorney general said.
After being turned away from the Lottery office last week, Donastorg said he would wait a few days before taking further action, to see if the administration would offer an explanation for why the audit was stopped. Bolletini said letters from the senator are now on their way to the governor and the attorney general
Donastorg said he may call a committee hearing and subpoena information on Caribbean Lottery Services and Powerball operations from the V.I. Lottery Office. In his letter to Andrews, Donastorg asked for copies of the CLS and Powerball contracts, all related addendums, a copy of the agreement showing how much money from the Caribbean Lottery and Powerball games is payable to the V.I. government, and V.I. Lottery financial statements from December 2001.
He also is requesting Caribbean Lottery Services and Powerball expenditure reports, reports on the revenues generated by the government through Powerball, a list of all individuals paid through distribution of net profits, reports listing V.I. Lottery receipts and revenues, supporting documents relative to expenditures and a report highlighting the total paid to the government from the time Caribbean Lottery Services was contracted began its business relationship with the V.I. Lottery.

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