Cleveland TV station WKYC reported that Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has announced an independent investigation into alleged HR irregularities involving former Ohio Lottery director, Pat McDonald.
Governor DeWine’s Staff Escorts Ohio Lottery Director Out of Office
It was originally reported that McDonald was escorted from his office by state troopers, but this was later clarified to say that McDonald was escorted by two members of DeWine’s staff, chief of staff Stephanie McCloud and chief counsel Matthew Donahue.
The Governor’s spokesman, Dan Tierney, has confirmed that an outside firm will conduct an independent investigation into potential HR irregularities. Tierney did not confirm whether McDonald’s resignation was requested by DeWine or not.
McDonald had held the position of Ohio Lottery director since 2019 and was previously a member and chair of the Ohio Lottery Commission for 16 years. During his tenure as lottery director, McDonald was responsible for managing a multi-billion dollar enterprise, which encompassed the distribution of lottery tickets at close to 10,000 locations, as well as video lottery terminals at the state’s seven racetracks.
Starting from January 1 this year, the Ohio Lottery Commission was granted additional duties of overseeing sports betting through the use of kiosks in hundreds of bars and other establishments across the state. These responsibilities are distinct from the regulation of mobile and retail betting, which fall under the jurisdiction of the Ohio Casino Control Commission.
Following McDonald’s resignation Michelle Gillcrist, a DeWine staffer and regional liaison has been appointed as interim lottery director.
Ohio Lottery Director Resigns During Critical Period of Rebid and iLottery Stalemate
McDonald’s departure comes at a critical time for the Ohio Lottery, as the office is in the process of rebidding its lucrative central gaming system contract, worth over $90 million every two years. It is also working to settle a long-running stalemate over establishing internet-based lottery gaming, or iLottery, in the state.
McDonald sent a brief email to DeWine’s chief of staff, Stephanie McCloud, announcing his retirement due to medical reasons. McDonald expressed that serving the people of Ohio had been a pleasure for him.
Prior to his resignation, he had held various positions including elections director for Cuyahoga County and had also worked for the Ohio secretary of state, Ohio treasurer, and as an assistant director of the Ohio Department of Commerce.
The investigation into alleged HR irregularities will determine if there were any issues surrounding McDonald’s departure and the management of the Ohio Lottery Commission. The results of the investigation could have implications for the Ohio Lottery and its operations.