New D.C. Lottery Bids: Woodson, Wiggins, Green Emerge as Local Partners
The new bids on the long controversial D.C. Lottery contract were due today at 2 p.m.; this is what LL has thus far been able to suss out.
Rhode Island-based GTECH, which ditched longtime partner Leonard Manning in May, has found a bevy of local partners with appeal across the local political spectrum. Long story short, their team has been meticulously constructed to ensure broad support on the D.C. Council, which derailed the last contract award.
From the Fenty axis, you have Darryl Wiggins. A local businessman, he's been a longtime political ally of Fenty's dating back to the his first council campaign. He also was a key member of Hizzoner's transition operation in 2006. He owns Document Managers, a business that's done a lot of business with District government and has experience in managing large tech enterprises, which is what running the lottery involves. (For further Fenty ties, his political guru, Tom Lindenfeld, has been hired by GTECH as a consultant.)
From the Gray axis, you have Lorraine Green. She's the VP in charge of human resources for Amtrak and is a former deputy director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. Her close relationship with Gray goes back at least to their shared service under Mayor Sharon Pratt–she as head of personnel, he as head of human services. She's also a former executive director of the D.C. Lottery and Charitable Games Control Board. Good experience there!
Right in the middle is attorney Rod Woodson, a partner at Holland & Knight. One of the best-known lobbyists in local government, Woodson's expert at maintaining relations across political lines—in no small part by spreading campaign donations far and wide. Woodson has deep connections in the legal, real estate, and health care communities.
That leaves big fish Intralot and Scientific Games.
Scientific Games seems not to have submitted a bid, a source says, abandoning Maryland businessman Charles Hopkins; Intralot, which won the initial bid before it was controversially not approved by the D.C. Council, is said to have submitted a bid, but without its controversial local partners, Warren and Alaka Williams.
The Office of the Chief Financial Officer declined to confirm any of this, citing confidentiality laws. Spokesperson David Umansky says that "the expectation is that the recommendation will go the Mayor in the fall."
UPDATE, 3:45 P.M.: Wiggins says he was approached by GTECH about a month ago to pursue a partnership. He says he sees an affinity between his current business and the lottery business: "What we do is management of digital technology in the field. I manage digital technology in the field...It can be a lottery ticket or it can be a deposition."
Wiggins explains that if his bid is successful, his employees will be responsible for maintaining the lottery equipment.
LL asked Wiggins if his mayoral connections played into his participation: "I don't think it plays at all, to be frank with you. We have a great mayor....He doesn't believe in political patronage. All of the time I've worked for the mayor, I've never contacted him about any procurement I've been involved in. I don't expect him to be my business development manager."
UPDATE, 6/29, 12:25 P.M.: Mea culpa: Scientific Games has indeed submitted a bid, their lead local partner, Charles Hopkins, reports.
Hopkins, a Chevy Chase, Md., resident whose business concerns are based in D.C., says he's gathered four other local partners—all D.C. residents—in his group. As for their identities, Hopkins is cagey. All he'll say: "It's a team that covers the lottery/retail side of the equation—which I bring to the table—a leading technologist, and we have people who are deeply involved in the gaming industry as advisers."
UPDATE, 6/29, 3:15 P.M.: LL was able to chat with Green this afternoon, who describes her intentions thusly: "I know what it takes to have an efficiently run lottery, and that's what I'm interested in."
Green declined to address what winning the big might mean for her day job, but she says that she'll "definitely not be involved in a day-to-day full-time capacity."
Green served as executive director of the lottery board from 1989 to 1991, when she started running the city personnel department. This mind you was in the heyday of Pratt's "clean house with a shovel" effort, and few departments required as much cleaning as Gray's human services department. "I spent a lot of time working with him then," she says. "I realized how dedicated and hardworking he is." She went on to co-chair Gray's 2006 campaign for chairman, and in recent years has served on an advisory board to the lottery.