The losing bidder in a prolonged battle to win the state's lucrative lottery contract has asked the Maryland State Lottery Agency to open an investigation into how the contract process was handled.
Citing an article published July 24 in The Evening Sun about how lobbyists influenced the lottery contract process, Marcel Helou, sales vice president for Control Data Corp., asked state lottery officials to determine if "inside information" from the agency was leaked to lobbyists for GTECH Corp., the Rhode Island-based lottery firm that won the contract.
GTECH, the world's largest on-line lottery company, ousted incumbent lottery vendor Control Data after a bitter contract fight that ended last spring when state officials accepted GTECH's $65 million bid, about $15 million less than Control Data's offer. GTECH officially took over the state's legal numbers games on July 24.
The newspaper article quoted lobbyist and former Maryland Gov. Marvin Mandel, who worked with lobbyist Bruce Bereano on behalf of GTECH, as admitting that sources familiar to the lottery procurement process passed information and letters on to him.
In a letter written to lottery agency procurement officer Michael W. Law and received yesterday, Helou wrote that Control Data "believes it is important to discover what information was provided to GTECH, who provided this information, and at what time during the process this information was privately communicated."
Law confirmed that he had received the letter and said he will follow agency policy by turning Control Data's request for an investigation over to its resident assistant attorney general, Romaine Williams, when she returns from vacation.
"The very nature of the procurement process demands that all potential vendors be treated uniformly and evaluated objectively," Helou continued in his letter, "and that they have similar opportunity to bid based on similar facts."
Helou said that based upon the information published in the article, Control is concerned "that the entire process may have been compromised."