Once again, the integrity of the Maryland state lottery is under attack. Not only did a controversial computer firm win a much-disputed bid to replace all the state's lottery terminals, but it now turns out that the firm attempted to influence the selection process by cutting in political friends and allies of the governor on the deal, which will net the firm a minimum of $64 million.
The brazen nature of this arrangement is startling. GTECH Corp. of Rhode Island picked well-connected minority and female vendors to handle millions of dollars of subcontracting work, and pointedly named the individuals in the firm's proposal. To gain even more sympathy, the firm committed itself to giving $400,000 to Morgan State University's engineering school -- a move unrelated to the lottery operations. As it turns out, boosting the engineering school is a priority for Budget Secretary Charles L. Benton, who was a pivotal player in picking a lottery vendor.
Even more stunning is GTECH's decision to funnel all its printing work through a company partly owned by William L. "Little Willie" Adams, a Baltimore entrepreneur and booster of the governor who started his career as a $1,000-a-day numbers boss. The actual ticket-printing will be done by another company, but Mr. Adams' firm -- just incorporated last year -- will earn a tidy profit.