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2 more execs fall victim to Ontario Lottery scandal

Ontario Lottery and Gaming CorporationOntario Lottery and Gaming Corporation: 2 more execs fall victim to Ontario Lottery scandal

VP fired, another shuffled out of job

One senior executive was fired and another reassigned yesterday as the fallout from a scandal involving allegations of fraud and suspicious insider wins at the provincial lottery corporation widened.

Michelle DiEmanuele, Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation's interim chief executive, announced the changes yesterday afternoon in a memo to staff.

Vice-president Ingrid Peters was fired after eight years with the company. She earned more than $267,000 in 2006, according to documents containing the province's top public sector earners.

"On behalf of the Corporation, I would like to thank Ingrid for her years of service with OLG," Ms. DiEmanuele wrote in the four-paragraph note.

In another move, Walter Fioravanti was removed from his position as human resources vice-president, but will remain with the company. He earned approximately $251,000 in 2006, according to documents.

"We are discussing alternative ways he can continue contributing to OLG and he will report directly to me in the interim," Ms. DiEmanuele told staff in the memo.

"We will begin the recruitment process for both vacant positions immediately," the memo said.

"This is a staff change. Both are key leadership roles for cultural change and our interim CEO Michelle DiEmanuele has elected to change leaders," said OLGC spokeswoman Teresa Roncon.

Insiders say the shuffle — which brings the number of executive casualties stemming from the scandal to four — was in the works for weeks.

Ms. Peters, who was the lottery corporation's general counsel, legal and compliance, and Mr. Fioravanti join Duncan Brown, the company's former chief executive officer, and Alan Berdowski, the company's former marketing chief, as casualties of a scandal exposing rampant incompetence at the provincial lottery corporation.

In March, provincial ombudsman Andre Marin released a report accusing Ontario Lottery and Gaming officials of turning a blind eye to widespread fraud among lottery "insiders" — lottery retailers, their employees and their families as well as OLGC employees — for years. Mr. Marin accused lottery ticket retailers of lying and stealing millions of dollars in dishonestly claimed winnings, often with the help of inept investigators.

Since 1999, insiders have racked up an astounding number of major lottery wins — 247 claims, ranging between $50,000 and $12.5 million, according to the ombudsman's report.

The revelations prompted a prolonged opposition siege against Public Infrastructure Minister David Caplan, who is responsible for the lotto corporation. The Toronto-area minister withstood the calls, however. Ms. DiEmanuele, deputy minister of government services and associate secretary of cabinet, was appointed about 10 days later.

The investigation was prompted by the plight of Bob Edmonds, who was cheated out of a winning $250,000 ticket by a convenience-store clerk in Coboconk. Mr. Edmonds, who died of cancer days after the report, finally got his money, but only after his story became front-page news across Canada.

Ottawa Citizen

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