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Tenn. Lottery officials give no details on harassment allegations

Jan 9, 2006, 9:24 am

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Tennessee LotteryTennessee Lottery: Tenn. Lottery officials give no details on harassment allegations

Tennessee Lottery officials aren't sharing documents and other details about former state treasurer Steve Adams stepping down as the lottery's chief administrative officer following an investigation into allegations of workplace harassment.

Lottery spokeswoman Kym Gerlock refused Friday to give any details of the allegations, which were investigated internally by the Tennessee Lottery general counsel. She cited attorney-client privilege and an interest in protecting the identities of the employees involved.

Gerlock said the lottery's president and CEO, Rebecca Paul, would also not comment about the allegations or circumstances surrounding Adams' departure.

Adams said in a released statement Friday he's never harassed an employee and is consulting with lawyers as to what his options are.

"I have served in state government for 30 years, 17 as state treasurer, and have never had any charges of inappropriate actions toward employees leveled against me," Adams said. "I have always been supportive of persons under my employ and continue to do so. I fully understand the importance of a healthy and harassment-free work environment for employees."

Adams' wife Reta, who works on Tennessee House Speaker Jimmy Naifeh's staff, refused to comment Friday about her husband leaving.

"I will not say one word," Reta Adams said.

Frank Gibson, executive director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government, a nonpartisan, nonprofit watchdog group, said because the lottery is an agency created by the state legislature, it is subject to public records law and should reveal details about the harassment investigation.

"When (the lottery) was created they got the legislature to give them several exceptions to their records and meetings," Gibson said. "Most of those dealt with business information to protect the security of the lottery. But I don't recall any that protected the (harassment) files you're talking about here."

Lottery officials announced in a statement released late Thursday night Adams was stepping down from his position. The statement said the lottery was "committed to providing a supportive work environment where every employee can reach his or her full potential.

"When contrary circumstances come to our attention, our intention is to correct that situation as promptly and fairly as we possibly can."

Adams, 54, a native of Marshall County, first entered state government with the Department of Conservation. He moved to the Treasury Department in 1975, and was first elected state treasurer in 1987.

He left that position in 2003 to work for the lottery.

When contacted by the Associated Press Friday, Dennis Bottorff, chairman of the lottery's board of directors, and five other board members did not immediately comment about the case.

The lottery's board of directors, comprised of business leaders from across the state, oversees the lottery's operation.

Adams' departure comes after a year of scrutiny of harassment allegations at all levels of state government.

Gov. Phil Bredesen said sexual harassment was a problem in state government in May 2005 after forcing his top lobbyist Mack Cooper to step down following a harassment complaint.

Tennessee Department of Correction Commissioner Quenton White resigned in July saying that media inquiries into sexual harassment allegations against him had compromised his ability to do his job.

An Associated Press review of more than 600 harassment investigation files going back to late 2002 -- just before Bredesen took office -- found that there was no consistent procedure for conducting investigations, maintaining records or imposing uniform punishments.


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1 comment. Last comment 15 years ago by CASH Only.
Page 1 of 1

United States
Member #379
June 5, 2002
11296 Posts
Posted: January 11, 2006, 4:32 pm - IP Logged

Why is the lottery exempt? Hmmmmm...