Lawmakers Question Severance Pay for Former Lottery Head

The Connecticut Lottery Board president resigned following the 5 Card Cash controversy and lawmakers spent four hours on Friday grilling the group's interim president and chairman. 

The hearing at the Legislative Office Building began with an announcement from lottery board chairman and acting president Frank Farricker, who has served in the interim role the last eight months unpaid.

“I am not and was not to be considered as a future president of the lottery," Farricker told the committee.

The fact-finding forum of the General Assembly’s Public Safety Commission wants to learn more, especially involving the generous separation package offered to former president and CEO Anne Noble.

The assembly has been probing the 5 card cash controversy that happened 18 months ago. The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) found lottery officials knew of potential for fraud before the game started and did not address issues quickly enough.

A retailer first raised security concerns about the 5 Card Cash scratch off for potential cheating back in January 2015. Concerns were raised again over the following summer and October 2016, when it was realized 5 Card Cash payouts over the last quarter were "unusually high".

A total of nine people were arrested on accusations they took advantage of manipulating the Connecticut Lottery system to give themselves winning tickets.

The Connecticut Lottery's 5 Card Cash game was permanently suspended last November.

Friday, they focused on former lottery Noble's generous separation package. She resigned from her more than $200,000 annual salary last September. Her transition agreement includes a $25,000 monthly consulting fee.

“She would find issues of importance in the lottery industry on a regular basis and bring them to my attention,” Farricker added. “Yes, there was an allocation of $250,000 to the board of directors’ account,” Farricker told the legislators.

NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters asked Noble whether she's earning her severance.

“I worked for the Connecticut Lottery for ten years, I have an incredible amount of knowledge of the gaming industry, which is frankly with our casino expansion at the fore front, and I stand ready and poised to help with gaming and I think I'm the kind of leadership Connecticut needs with gaming policy," Noble said.

After the hearing Noble questioned what she calls the "blame game".

“You heard the senator say an investigation report was completed of me, without ever even talking to me,” Noble said. 

DCP Spokeswoman Lora Rae Anderson issued this statement to NBC Connecticut.

"The Department of Consumer Protection is continuing its investigation into 5 Card Cash in a deliberate and through manner, and in accordance with state law. There is currently no pending civil or criminal charges against any connect lottery corporation officials in association with 5 Card Cash. Our charge is to ensure the integrity of legal gaming in the state, and we work as efficiently as possible to achieve that goal and to serve the people of Connecticut."

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