Sen. Jonathan Dismang
Julie Baldridge and Dianne Lamberth
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Auditors say the former director and vice president of the Arkansas Lottery each spent nearly a quarter of their working days last year on personal trips to their home states.
Legislative auditors said Thursday that records were unclear on whether proper leave time was recorded for former Director Ernie Passailaigue and former Vice President for Gaming David Barden. The two resigned this year after complaints about the games' management.
The audit said Passailaigue was on non-business travel to South Carolina, where he maintains a residence, for 27 percent of his working days. Auditors said that Barden spent 21 percent of his working days on non-business travel to South Carolina or Maine, where he maintains residences.
The audit was detailed to a legislative panel.
The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery also reports they gave more than 33,000 Arkansas Challenge scholarships in the past year.
Interim director Julie Baldridge and Chairman Dianne Lamberth. But they were in the hot seat taking questions and criticism for the way business was handled in the past 2 years.
Representative Terry Rice says, "I try to look at both sides of this when everybody was expecting the lottery to get online and ramp it up in a hurry...but it's plain that business procedures were no followed!"
Senator Jonathan Dismang says, "I think you're charged as the commissioner in relationship to the director to have that oversight in this travel. And so I understand that moving forward we want to pretend that nothing happened but it did! And I understand you haven't picked up the phone but it's your responsibility to pick up the phone!"
This was in response to Lamberth saying she has not spoken to Passailaigue nor Barden since the audit was released.
Lamberth says, "We are going to look into this. We are going to compare all of our policies and procedures with state agencies. And not to have this anymore. I think you realize that by our actions from last year's audit that we're very serious! We're very serious in how we approach this."
The Arkansas Scholarhip Lottery Commission is still on the hunt for a new director since Passailaigue's leaving in September.
The lottery saw more than $464,000,000 in revenue in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.