Quinn announces ouster of underperforming state lottery manager

Written By Dave McKinney Posted: 08/15/2014, 04:54pm

SPRINGFIELD — Bowing to a lackluster bottom line, Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration moved Friday to terminate the state’s contract with Northstar Lottery Group, the private vendor that manages the Illinois Lottery.

“The administration has had serious concerns with Northstar’s performance. The governor demands every state contractor be held accountable for their performance,” Quinn spokesman Grant Klinzman said.

The company is running $238 million short in projected earnings it had promised the state this fiscal year.

And during the past three years, the company has underperformed by roughly $480 million, prompting calls from some lawmakers for the Quinn administration to pull out of what had been a 10-year contract with the company to run the day-to-day operations of the state’s $2 billion lottery.

Klinzman said the state will look for another company to oversee the lottery and pledged no disruption of lottery sales during the transition to another company.

“The state is in the process of finalizing a path that will allow the lottery to move on, improve profits and increase funding for education and economic development across the state,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Chicago-based vendor being dumped by Quinn did not respond to an email from the Chicago Sun-Times seeking comment about the governor’s move.

Quinn’s Republican rival for governor, Bruce Rauner, seized on Friday’s announcement, linking it to Quinn’s failed Neighborhood Recovery Initiative anti-violence program that is being investigated by a criminal grand jury in Springfield.

“Like his failed anti-violence program that’s under criminal investigation, another of Pat Quinn’s election-year 2010 decisions is coming undone,” Rauner campaign spokesman Mike Schrimpf said. “It’s a shame that it takes another election for him to demand accountability. The people of Illinois should always go ahead of politics.”

Quinn’s campaign shot back, jabbing Rauner for the federal fraud indictments of two corporate underlings implicated in an offshore trading scheme.

“Unlike Gov. Quinn who holds people accountable, Bruce Rauner hasn’t taken any responsibility for criminal acts committed by his handpicked executives nor other mismanagement at businesses he owned, operated and profited from. But Mr. Rauner always takes the money and then goes home quietly,” Quinn spokeswoman Brooke Anderson said.

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