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California Lottery official dismissed amid investigations

Mar 26, 2019, 9:23 am

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A senior California Lottery executive has been dismissed from his position six months after anonymous state employees sent a letter to the Governor's Office complaining about rowdy behavior among a group of the lottery's top brass.

Deputy Director of Sales James David Cole's dismissal comes amid ongoing investigations into hiring practices and alleged misconduct by senior lottery executives during a 2016 sales conference.

Cole was notified Feb. 1 that his employment would be officially terminated March 1, according to a termination letter obtained through a public records request. He was placed on paid administrative leave for the month of February, according to the letter.

The letter didn't give a reason for the termination, and it is unknown whether his departure was related to the sales conference or other issues raised by the letter. California Lottery spokesman Russ Lopez declined to discuss a personnel matter. Cole, who was promoted to deputy director in 2014, did not respond to a voicemail or emails seeking comment.

"This is a refreshing change," said Paulina Vasquez, a district sales representative and union steward. "I'm glad to see people are being held accountable for their actions and I'm looking forward to seeing even more changes in the future."

Vasquez was among five employees who called for top officials' resignations at a state Lottery Commission meeting in September.

Last summer, an anonymous lottery employee sent a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown that included photos that allegedly showed senior lottery administration officials carrying on at Southern California piano bar, including one image of an official putting his head up a woman's shirt. The letter, written on official lottery stationary, also described disparaging treatment of employees.

Sharon Neal, a district sales representative and union steward, said Cole's leadership style was "geared more toward management, not rank and file. He gave management a very wide range of latitude to wield their power in ways that in my 33 years there I had never seen a management team do before."

Brown's office asked the state Department of Justice to investigate, and lottery employees say agents are still conducting interviews.

At the same time, the State Controller's Office is reviewing the last four years of the lottery's expenditures following an internal audit of the lottery's 2017 training events, conferences and seminars that found several instances of it failing to properly document and review expenses.

The lottery recently has recorded soaring revenue gains, with total sales for the last fiscal year totaling nearly $7 billion, up from $5.5 billion in 2015.

Sacramento Bee

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49 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by Vickey.
Page 1 of 4
Avatar
Simpsonville
United States
Member #163184
January 22, 2015
2281 Posts
Offline

To play you pay; California did the right thing.  Sure would like to know how much he got paid.  Hey at least now he can legally play the CA lottery...LOL

    CDanaT's avatar - Nolz june15.jpg
    Central TN
    United States
    Member #121189
    January 4, 2012
    4772 Posts
    Offline

    Eek How could this happen in the state that is so highly regarded for its political correctness,gender neutrality,sanctuary equality for all and bastion of liberal integrity ?  I am just flabbergasted, shocked and appalled such an atrocity has been allowed to transpire.

    Integrity: There is just no substitute.

      hearsetrax's avatar - alien on_computer.jpg

      United States
      Member #52343
      May 21, 2007
      3289 Posts
      Offline

      Eek How could this happen in the state that is so highly regarded for its political correctness,gender neutrality,sanctuary equality for all and bastion of liberal integrity ?  I am just flabbergasted, shocked and appalled such an atrocity has been allowed to transpire.

      LOL @ CD

        Raven62's avatar - binary
        25
        New Jersey
        United States
        Member #17842
        June 28, 2005
        131828 Posts
        Offline

        The Court of Public Opinion Is About Mob Justice and Reputation Assassination!

        A mind once stretched by a new idea never returns to its original dimensions!

        Catch-22: A dilemma or difficult circumstance from which there is no escape because of mutually conflicting or dependent conditions.

        Corruptissima re publica plurimae leges: When the republic is at its most corrupt the laws are most numerous.

          Avatar
          Chasing $ Millions.
          White Shores- California
          United States
          Member #136473
          December 12, 2012
          6333 Posts
          Online

          Eek How could this happen in the state that is so highly regarded for its political correctness,gender neutrality,sanctuary equality for all and bastion of liberal integrity ?  I am just flabbergasted, shocked and appalled such an atrocity has been allowed to transpire.

          lol..but none of what you stated have anything to do with playing the lottery per se CD. Wouldn't surprise me one bit if Cole was the guy at the piano bar with he's head under that women's shirt. Probably telling the onlookers" This is how you make a sale, you have to be forceful,plant your flag, get in there."

           * Voice of Reason *   

           

          People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

            music*'s avatar - DiscoBallGlowing
            USN United States Navy
            Fresno, California
            United States
            Member #157851
            August 2, 2014
            3959 Posts
            Offline

            Our new Governor is running a tight ship. Good for him. 

             Now is the time to crack down on Lottery retailers who win multiple times. 

            US Flag

             "We are all in this together!" 

              Groppo's avatar - cat anm.gif

              United States
              Member #162626
              January 7, 2015
              780 Posts
              Offline

              .

              Is there a worse feeling than losing what you once had?

              • Don't chase the numbers you play.
              • Play only numbers you've already played, plus however many random picks.
              • But, ALWAYS the regular numbers you play.  This will make you a winner, not a chaser.
                         (so far, though, I've yet to win any significant lotto prize)
              • Oh, but always know where your tickets are, as well as your ticket's deadline.
                CDanaT's avatar - Nolz june15.jpg
                Central TN
                United States
                Member #121189
                January 4, 2012
                4772 Posts
                Offline

                .

                Is there a worse feeling than losing what you once had?

                perhaps not when it comes to an ex spouse??? Star

                Integrity: There is just no substitute.

                  Avatar

                  United States
                  Member #164719
                  March 12, 2015
                  1300 Posts
                  Offline

                  Motor boarding  --- a victimless crime.

                  Jester

                    benjibanks's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
                    Los Angeles
                    United States
                    Member #187099
                    January 12, 2018
                    66 Posts
                    Offline

                    Eek How could this happen in the state that is so highly regarded for its political correctness,gender neutrality,sanctuary equality for all and bastion of liberal integrity ?  I am just flabbergasted, shocked and appalled such an atrocity has been allowed to transpire.

                    Its #metoo land over hear in California for a reason.  James Cole should go try to get a job with Cristina Garcia. 

                      Artist77's avatar - batman14

                      United States
                      Member #121741
                      January 16, 2012
                      7673 Posts
                      Offline

                      Great news and the outcome predicted by most lp members, and not counting the 1 or 2 members who placed the blame on the woman.  It is funny how so many state lotteries are supposedly trying to prevent fraud by pushing 100% non anonymity but their own officials engage in public unprofessional behavior. They need to clean their own house!

                      Je vous salue, Marie, pleine de grace.  We will rebuild!

                        Avatar
                        Kentucky
                        United States
                        Member #32651
                        February 14, 2006
                        8995 Posts
                        Offline

                        The Court of Public Opinion Is About Mob Justice and Reputation Assassination!

                        Is complaining about rowdy behavior like Beulah Balbricker saying she would have a teacher fired for "moral turpitude"

                          Avatar
                          Chasing $ Millions.
                          White Shores- California
                          United States
                          Member #136473
                          December 12, 2012
                          6333 Posts
                          Online

                          l wonder if Cole was the sacrificial lamb here? Taking a “ hit for the team” since those filing a report, were displeased with all the action going on at the piano bar. Next time they have a company party, they had better vet  the people willing to go: You know kinda like seating a jury: Are you aware of the piano bar scene years ago? Yes l am. Would you be comfortable being in that environment, one way or another? No, l would not! Russ, we will dismiss this worker from the company party. Next!

                          Sometimes, you have to cull the herd!👌

                           * Voice of Reason *   

                           

                          People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it- George Bernard Shaw.

                            Avatar
                            Kentucky
                            United States
                            Member #32651
                            February 14, 2006
                            8995 Posts
                            Offline

                            The letter didn't give a reason for the termination

                            But people are still saying "I told you so".