Arizona Lottery Director Tony Bouie has resigned his post in Gov. Doug Ducey's administration amid controversy and concerns about his management of the department.
Kevin Donnellan, the deputy director of the Department of Administration and a policy advisor to Ducey, has been named interim director.
Bouie submitted his resignation around 5 p.m. Wednesday, according to a Human Resources letter.
Daniel Scarpinato, Ducey's spokesman, confirmed the resignation, saying, "In discussing these recent issues with Director Bouie, the director and the administration agreed this would be a distraction, so in the best interest of the state, Director Bouie has stepped down."
Scarpinato would not elaborate on those issues, citing legal and personnel issues.
But a recent Phoenix New Times article detailed Bouie's use of a state car to transport one or more of his children, although Bouie told the publication it was "absolutely not true I'm using it for personal use."
In recent months, Bouie critics have raised questions about his management of the Lottery department, including his hiring practices, agreements with sports teams or event organizers for seats or lofts and spending to redecorate areas of the department.
A statement from Bouie about his tenure did not offer details about his resignation. But, he said, "There is much more to this story than is being told. I have followed the rules that I was trained on."
He touted his tenure, citing his successes. "We generated an increase in sales and net profits for our beneficiaries," he wrote. "We refocused the Lottery on its original mission statement. The financial results are undeniable and are a benefit for the state."
On Thursday afternoon, Bouie was scheduled to meet with Sen. Kimberly Yee, R-Phoenix, to discuss his performance. She had heard concerns about his management and wanted to speak to him directly about his year on the job.
Yee chairs the Commerce and Workforce Development Committee. The committee did not confirm his appointment last year and was to reconsider it within a few weeks. Appointees can serve a year without being confirmed.
Yee said it is her practice to interview appointees and follow up on constituent questions before committee hearings, which are public. She had numerous conversations with Ducey staffers about her concerns and credits her research into Bouie for his resignation.
Yee said allies of Ducey and Bouie have been advocating for Bouie's confirmation as recently as two days ago.
"There were a number of individuals calling connected to the Governor's Office or Tony Bouie himself calling to advocate, which was unique," she said. "I don't get that kind of thing with other directors who come before this committee."
Most recently, Yee raised concerns about the Lottery department's purchase of a season suite at the Arizona Cardinals stadium and a tent at the Phoenix Open.
"I was looking forward to meeting him, talking about his year on the job and his performance," Yee said. "The abrupt cancellation was clearly a surprise by me."
Donnellan said he will evaluate the Lottery department in coming months.
"As I transition over to the Lottery, my main directive is to conduct an administrative review of the entire organization," he said in a statement. "As details emerge, I will be in a better position to share what, if anything, is found."
In appointing Bouie a year ago, Ducey touted his leadership skills, saying then: "Tony brings to our administration a strong and tested history in leadership roles. Whether directing corporations, managing people and budgets, overseeing successful business development or coaching teams, he has proven himself an extremely effective and reputable leader."
He had no experience in the public sector but played with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and was an assistant football coach for the University of Akron in Ohio.
When he ran for the Legislature in 2008, Bouie was caught in a lie about his party registration. Despite his assertion that he had been a Republican for half of his life, records from Florida — where he lived before moving to Arizona — showed he was registered as a Democrat.
He only changed his party registration to Republican days before filing to run for the House seat in 2008. He lost in a three-way GOP primary, but came back in 2010 in an unsuccessful bid for a state Senate seat.