The Maryland State Lottery Agency has turned down a request by the losing bidder in a battle over the state's lucrative lottery contract to investigate how the contract process was conducted.
In a letter sent to a Control Data Corp. official this week, MSLA procurement officer Michael W. Law said the state agency has neither the resources nor the reasons to conduct an investigation into what he described as "nebulous allegations" that the contract process was mishandled.
Marcel Helou, a Control Data vice president for sales, requested the investigation after The Evening Sun published an article July 24 describing how lobbyists influenced the lottery contract process. Citing the article, Helou asked MSLA officials to determine if "inside information" from the agency was improperly leaked to lobbyists for GTECH Corp., the Rhode Island-based firm that won the $65 million computer contract.
"Neither the Maryland State Lottery Agency nor I have any knowledge or sufficient reason to believe that the procurement process was in fact compromised," Law wrote in response to Helou's request.
In addition to requesting an investigation, Helou asked lottery officials if the recent disqualification of a lottery subcontractor for preferential status as a minority business enterprise would affect GTECH's contract with the state.
The state requires that firms bidding on large contracts include in their bid proposals at least a 10 percent minority participation goal.
WBS Inc., a Baltimore-based company associated with William L. "Little Willie" Adams, a political ally of Gov. William Donald Schaefer and a one-time numbers kingpin, was included in the list of minority subcontractors that helped GTECH win the contract.
WBS was created expressly to handle the lucrative printing business of the lottery. But a state review panel decided the firm should not be given the so-called minority status because it has no employees, no printing equipment and no experience to handle the job.
WBS officials have appealed the decision and Law said yesterday that Adams had resigned his position as the firm's treasurer.
Despite the panel's ruling, the status of WBS will not affect the GTECH contract, said Law, because the lottery firm included more than the 10 percent minority participation requirement.
Assistant Attorney General Romaine N. Williams, the lawyer assigned to the MSLA, said yesterday she had reviewed Helou's letter and Law's response and concurred with the agency's position.
Control Data was the state's incumbent lottery vendor until it lost the contract battle last spring.