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Colorado Lottery marketing director put on paid leave, probe continues

Colorado LotteryColorado Lottery: Colorado Lottery marketing director put on paid leave, probe continues

The director of the Colorado Lottery has placed the Lottery's marketing director on paid administrative leave, and the Cabinet member who oversees the Lottery said Monday that more may follow as a probe into the Lottery continues.

"I can't say that this is where it ends in terms of employees who are affected," said M. Michael Cooke, chief of the state Department of Revenue. "That remains to be seen."

Dan Noreen, a longtime Lottery employee making $100,284 a year, was placed on leave Thursday.

Noreen said Monday he could not speak about it, citing orders from Lottery Director Margaret M. "Peggy" Gordon.

Cooke said Noreen's leave is a precaution and not necessarily an indication of wrongdoing.

But Noreen's departure is the latest in a series of upheavals that have come in the midst of a probe into gift-giving by vendors wanting Lottery business.

In January, George Turner, a former top Revenue official who for years had authority over the Lottery and casino gaming, was also placed on leave as officials examined his expense reports.

Authorities also questioned whether Turner promised a trio of gaming officials apparently caught up in a casino-chip scheme last year that no criminal charges would be filed against them if they quietly resigned.

Turner retired soon after those questions were raised.

And in November, former Lottery Director Mark Zamarripa abruptly quit just hours before he was to meet with Cooke to talk about expenses he incurred on a trip to New Orleans. In Cooke's view, it was impossible to tell what the state was to pay Zamarripa for and what was provided by the national lottery organization sponsoring his trip.

A criminal investigation into the Lottery was launched soon after Zamarripa's departure. The probe continues.

Cooke would not say specifically what officials are examining in Noreen's case, saying only "we're trying to put together pieces of information. We need to do a little more fact-finding."

Denver Post

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