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Illinois Lottery director stepping down

Illinois Lottery Director Michael Jones has told his staff he’s quitting.

In a memo, Jones says his last day is Friday and his only immediate plan is to take a “surfing vacation.”

Jones headed the Illinois Lottery twice. The first time was from 1981 until 1985. Then-Gov. Pat Quinn named him director in 2011.

Quinn and Jones were criticized for a proposed agreement to end a contract with the Lottery’s private manager, Northstar Lottery Group. In January, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan notified Jones that she was rejecting the proposal because of possible legal violations and the potential for higher fees.

In his memo, Jones said of the issue that his effort to “straighten” out the Lottery’s “new private manager model” had proven more difficult than he’d expected.