The former Arizona Lottery director, who abruptly resigned last month following allegations of mismanagement of the agency, is under investigation by the Attorney General Mark Brnovich's office.
Tony Bouie, who Gov. Doug Ducey appointed to the post early on in his administration, has adamantly denied wrongdoing, saying last month, "There is much more to this story than is being told. I have followed the rules that I was trained on," Lottery Post reported.
A spokesman for Brnovich confirmed the probe Tuesday but declined to provide details on the specific allegations investigators are examining. Ryan Anderson said the office's criminal division is leading the probe and said investigators have begun receiving records from the lottery department.
"We can't discuss the specifics of ongoing investigations," Anderson wrote in a statement, "But the attorney general is committed to investigating legitimate allegations of fraud or government mismanagement, and if appropriate, prosecuting."
Bouie could not immediately be reached to discuss the investigation.
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."
And in the months leading up to his resignation, Bouie critics had been raising 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. The Attorney General's Office, Ducey's office and media outlets received a letter from an apparent lottery department insider that detailed allegations against Bouie.
Communications between Bouie and Ducey staffers provided to the newspaper in response to a public-records request show that Bouie frequently communicated his successes to gubernatorial staffers. The records detailed savings to the department as well as the department's increase in sales and profits to beneficiaries.
The lottery department and Department of Administration have not fulfilled the newspapers request for contractual documents and other records. A spokeswoman for the administration department said Monday officials "have encountered some delays as we work through the confidentiality clauses in some of the contracts" but that records would be forthcoming.
Bouie could not immediately be reached to discuss the attorney general investigation.
Kevin Donnellan, the deputy director of the Department of Administration and a policy advisor to Ducey, has been named interim director of the lottery department and has been tasked with reviewing its operations under Bouie.
Daniel Scarpinato, Ducey's spokesman, said the governor supports "full transparency."
"The interim director of lottery is currently conducting an administrative review of this matter, and we have instructed him to work closely with the Attorney General's office to provide all relevant information," Scarpinato wrote in a statement.
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.
The story renewed questions about whether Ducey would try to push an effort to create an inspector general position that reports directly to the governor, an idea he unsuccessfully tried to create last year. Ducey pitched the proposal as a way to root out corruption, fraud and waste. But the Legislature pushed back, saying the powers were too broad in their view.
Bouie resignation came as he 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, which did not confirm his appointment last year and was to reconsider it this Legislative session. Appointees can serve a year without being confirmed.
Yee has said she had numerous conversations with Ducey staffers about her concerns and said up until his resignation. allies of Ducey and Bouie had been advocating for his confirmation, which in her mind, was unusual.
Yee and others raised concerns about the Lottery department's purchase of a season suite at the Arizona Cardinals stadium and a tent at the Phoenix Open.