Four years before North Carolina lawmakers created the state lottery, a for-profit lottery company was paying former state lottery commissioner Kevin Geddings to work as a consultant, a company executive said Monday at Geddings' fraud trial.
Patrick Traub, an executive at Scientific Games Corp., affirmed government evidence showing that Geddings received $9,668.66 in April 2001 from a company later acquired by Scientific Games. An invoice from Geddings' public relations firm stated the payment was for a meeting with Gov. Mike Easley about bringing a lottery to the state.
Easley, a longtime supporter of the lottery, has said he doesn't remember any meeting with Geddings and was unaware he worked for Scientific Games until it became public earlier this year.
"Kevin would have gone to advise the governor or members of his staff of the challenges of enacting a lottery," Traub said during cross examination. Geddings was doing contract work at that time for Automated Wagering International, which was later acquired by Scientific Games.
Geddings was the only public relations consultant that had been successful in getting a lottery passed in the South at that time, Traub said.
Geddings is charged with eight counts of fraud, accused by prosecutors of failing to reveal that between 2000 and 2005 his firm received more than $250,000 in payments from New York-based Scientific Games or companies it acquired. He faces up to 20 years in prison and $250,000 in fines on each count.
Traub said Geddings worked primarily in South Carolina until voters there approved a referendum in November 2000 that changed the state's constitution, allowing lawmakers to create a lottery. He later traveled to Tennessee and Oklahoma, where lotteries ultimately won passage and Scientific Games was awarded contracts to operate those games.
Traub said the company assigned Geddings to work in those states.
Prosecutors also presented evidence Monday showing that Alan Middleton, a longtime friend of Geddings who was an executive at Scientific Games, first met with North Carolina state House Speaker Jim Black in March 2005, a month before the House passed the lottery bill.
Middleton and Meredith Norris, Black's former unpaid political director and a lobbyist for Scientific Games, also met with Black on Sept. 21, 2005, the night before Black announced his two choices for the lottery commission. During opening arguments last week, Duffy argued that Black decided at the meeting to appoint Geddings to the commission.
Middleton's lobbyist expense report filed with the Secretary of State's Office shows Norris spending $241.38 on Black at a Raleigh restaurant on Sept. 21. The next day, Norris e-mailed Geddings: "Alan and I just wanted to make sure the speaker got up with you today."
A lawyer for Black has declined to comment on Duffy's statement until after the trial. Black, who has not been charged with any crimes, has been subpoenaed to testify.
Since his indictment, Geddings has moved from Charlotte to Florida, where he works at a St. Augustine radio station owned by his wife.