Ex-Lottery Leaders’ Travel Under Investigation

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 101 views 

There may be a good reason the former Arkansas Lottery chief and his vice-president resigned their posts abruptly.

State auditors and current lottery officials revealed to legislators today (Nov. 10) that the travel records of former director Ernie Passailaigue and VP of Gaming David Barden have been turned over to Pulaski County prosecutor Larry Jegley.

From the Arkansas News Bureau:

Auditors found that during the 2010-11 fiscal year, Passailaigue spent all or part of 71 of 261 working days, or 27 percent, traveling to South Carolina, where he has a home. Barden spent all or part of 55 days, or 21 percent of working days, on travel to South Carolina or Maine, where he has homes.

Each man would sometimes fly to his home state on the last day of a multi-day business trip, said Cliff Murchison, senior auditor for the state Division of Legislative Audit. Passailaigue is a former South Carolina lottery director and Barden worked under Passailaigue in that state.

Murchison said auditors found conflicting information and “several instances of redacted information, including portions of flight schedules, addresses and payment methods” in the materials Passailaigue and Barden submitted to support requests for travel reimbursement.

“We question whether some travel was reasonable and necessary,” Murchison said.

Legislators were understandably miffed by the lax travel policy.

“I think it’s very easy to conclude that we were supplementing personal travel with lottery funds,” said Sen. Jonathan Dismang (R-Beebe).

You can read more at this link.