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Northstar fights to keep Illinois lottery documents secret

Illinois LotteryIllinois Lottery: Northstar fights to keep Illinois lottery documents secret
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The company hired to run the Illinois Lottery continued its fight to keep some documents under wraps, arguing their release would violate its contract with the state and expose company secrets to competitors.

At a hearing before the Illinois Court of Claims, Northstar Lottery Group argued today that lottery officials have no duty to release a marketing study and a business plan even though the Illinois Attorney General has advised the documents should be made public.

The firm asked the court — a quasi-judicial body of seven appointed judges who hear disputes involving the state — to issue a temporary restraining order and protective order barring the release of the records. Northstar Attorney Eric Macey argued the contract requires lottery officials to fight any effort to obtain confidential information supplied by Northstar.

"The state has made a covenant with us — an express promise — to do everything they can to protect (our) confidential information," Macey said. "What are they doing here? They're saying, 'We're releasing it voluntarily."

Assistant Attorney General Michael Schnitzer, representing the lottery, said the court doesn't have the authority to issue restraining orders or protective orders. The state's taxpayers have a right to review the company's operations and activities, he said.

"We're talking about two documents that were paid for by the people of Illinois," Schnitzer said, noting that the state pays the company millions for operational expenses. "The people want to — and have a right to — know what Northstar is doing with this money."

This is the second suit the company has filed to prevent disclosure of the documents, which were sought through separate requests under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act by the Chicago Tribune and Crain's Chicago Business. In March, a Cook County Circuit Court judge denied Northstar's petition for a temporary restraining order. Days later, the company filed the current suit with the Court of Claims.

On Monday, only four of the seven-member panel were present at the hearing in the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago. One judge was sick, while two others recused themselves.

Judge Mary Patricia Burns, a partner at the politically connected law firm Burke Burns & Pinelli, Ltd., was hired by Northstar last year to help resolve a financial dispute between the firm and the lottery, according to documents obtained by the Tribune.

In an e-mail to the newspaper, Burns declined to discuss her work with Northstar, but said she recused herself the day the suit was filed. Chief Judge Robert Sprague also recused himself because he is working with Macey on an unrelated case, said court administrator Brad Bucher.

The court did not rule Monday, but took the matter under advisement. It was unclear when a ruling might be released.

Northstar was chosen by Gov. Pat Quinn in 2010 to become the nation's first private manager of a state lottery and formally took control the following year. Since then, it has failed to meet revenue goals in the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years. Last month, a lottery official said the firm was on track to fall short of revenue targets for the third straight year.

Chicago Tribune

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30 comments. Last comment 8 months ago by sully16.
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mypiemaster's avatar - lib
He who dies with the most toys WINS!!!.

United States
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April 2, 2013
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Posted: April 15, 2014, 9:23 am - IP Logged

Gee, have something to hide huh?.

Seekand ye shall find -Matt. 7:7 ...Ask and ye shall receive -John 16:24 ...Give and it shall be given unto you -Luke 6:38 ...Be careful what you ask for!!! -Mypiemaster 1:1

Having Money Solves Problems That Not Having Money Creates Yes Nod ****John Carlton****

    CARBOB's avatar - FL LOTTERY_LOGO.png
    ORLANDO, FLORIDA
    United States
    Member #4924
    June 3, 2004
    4450 Posts
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    Posted: April 15, 2014, 9:27 am - IP Logged

    Does it make you wonder, what they are hiding? Information that is Proprietary is one thing, but trying to hide something else, like bonuses or test draws, is a different story. That should be public knowledge. When anyone attempts to keep information from the public, I get worried. The people in Washington are up to their eyeballs, hiding information, from the public. Florida doesn't publish the test draws, which I think they should.

      Jon D's avatar - calotterylogo
      Los Angeles, California
      United States
      Member #103816
      January 5, 2011
      1530 Posts
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      Posted: April 15, 2014, 9:40 am - IP Logged

      At a hearing before the Illinois Court of Claims, Northstar Lottery Group argued today that lottery officials have no duty to release a marketing study and a business plan even though the Illinois Attorney General has advised the documents should be made public.

      Green laughOh boy, what did you expect! Those are documents that public state lotteries publish and release all the time. But now you're dealing with a private company, and they want to keep their secrets.

      So you got this half-half public private thing going on, which one is it? A public non-profit entity run for and by the people, or an independent private for profit corporation? And you gave them your monopoly power no less.

      Like a wise man once said: You do private company "yes" or private company "no." You do private company "guess so" ... SQUISH!!! ... just like grape.

        Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
        Zeta Reticuli Star System
        United States
        Member #30470
        January 17, 2006
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        Posted: April 15, 2014, 10:58 am - IP Logged

        From the OP:

        Northstar was chosen by Gov. Pat Quinn in 2010 to become the nation's first private manager of a state lottery and formally took control the following year.

        I don't think either Quinn or Northstar are exactly trustworthy. Quinn was Lt. Governor when former Gov. Blagojevich went to jail, and "Blago" warned everybody some of the things that woyuld happen once he was removed from office.

        Quite a few of them have happened, state pension funds being a prime example.

        As for Northstar they've basically just tightened up the odds on scratchers and turned $1 draw games into $2 games. A lot of what they do just insults an aware player's intelligence.

        Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any.

        Lep

        There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

          sully16's avatar - sharan
          Listens to the wind
          Michigan
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          Posted: April 15, 2014, 11:44 am - IP Logged

          I think this plot will thicken.

          There's only one US Flag

            pickone4me's avatar - 021414tvlies zpsa453b327.jpg
            Wisconsin
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            Member #104966
            January 23, 2011
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            Posted: April 15, 2014, 11:47 am - IP Logged

            When stories like this come out,  I lose trust in these lotteries.

              chrissy16's avatar - pa big4.png

              United States
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              June 30, 2012
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              Posted: April 15, 2014, 12:14 pm - IP Logged

              So much for the argument that these gaming companies will increase revenues.  Now, what is the real goal of privatization???

                   

                chrissy16's avatar - pa big4.png

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                Posted: April 15, 2014, 12:19 pm - IP Logged

                Also, to add:  The inquiry I find just, given that North Star has failed to meet revenue targets as outlined in the contract.  The people of Illinois are now entitled to know how their money is being appropiated.

                     

                  spartan1707's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                  Tucson
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                  December 2, 2011
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                  Posted: April 15, 2014, 1:31 pm - IP Logged

                  This is a total lack of the Law. By hidding it's company policy aka how they keep so much money is why so many states are not making money yet those on the boards or private share holders are. Law makers who request a private company to run their state Lottery should be investigated and kick out of office,arrested on fraud and theft! Arizona ia another Lottery which is cheating and I've asked for a full investigation into these so called revenue building lottery companies.

                    spartan1707's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
                    Tucson
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                    December 2, 2011
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                    Posted: April 15, 2014, 1:34 pm - IP Logged

                    Making those who run it rich period. If one was to just look at their salaries they gave themselves we would see. And because it's a contract the law makers sign we must pay them. Those who are not private share holders whine,bitch then ask for an investigation but it goes unresolved. THEN THEY GET SOME OF THE MONEY and it's all right!

                      mrcraft's avatar - images3lp4 zps7dbb4a10.jpg
                      Los Angeles, California
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                      Posted: April 15, 2014, 3:10 pm - IP Logged

                      There should be some performance guarantee in the contract.  Three straight years of not meeting revenue goals.  Plain and simple.  Northstar should be fired.  I worry when lotteries become privatized.  This is a prime example.

                        THRIFTY's avatar - darth vader-face.jpeg
                        NEW YORK
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                        Posted: April 15, 2014, 4:57 pm - IP Logged

                        Gee, have something to hide huh?.

                        They are hiding the secret to winning a lottery jackpot.

                        US Flag

                          THRIFTY's avatar - darth vader-face.jpeg
                          NEW YORK
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                          Posted: April 15, 2014, 4:59 pm - IP Logged

                          There should be some performance guarantee in the contract.  Three straight years of not meeting revenue goals.  Plain and simple.  Northstar should be fired.  I worry when lotteries become privatized.  This is a prime example.

                          Odds of running a lottery business are too high.LOL

                          US Flag

                            THRIFTY's avatar - darth vader-face.jpeg
                            NEW YORK
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                            Posted: April 15, 2014, 5:01 pm - IP Logged

                            This is a total lack of the Law. By hidding it's company policy aka how they keep so much money is why so many states are not making money yet those on the boards or private share holders are. Law makers who request a private company to run their state Lottery should be investigated and kick out of office,arrested on fraud and theft! Arizona ia another Lottery which is cheating and I've asked for a full investigation into these so called revenue building lottery companies.

                            You can't win forever in life.

                            US Flag