State auditors conducting a review on the Nebraska Commission on Problem Gambling saw red flags when it came to awarding contracts to help problem gamblers. Auditor Mike Foley says the commission formed in July of 2013 and hired an interim director. That person was the director of a group that provided services to those with gambling problems. Foley says he did take a leave of absence to serve as the interim director of the State Commission.
Foley says within weeks after the interim director took the state position two contracts with a combined value in excess of $200,000 were awarded to the group the state director was on leave from. The contracts were awarded on an emergency basis without a bidding process, an issue that Foley also questions. Foley says the interim director is now back with the group he awarded those contracts to and is now personally benefiting from them. He says that appears to violate Nebraska’s conflict of interest statutes.
Foley says they also question whether or not one of the contracts for training services is even valid as the contractor lacks the required certification as a postsecondary career school. He says there is also lack of documentation to support whether or not the services stated in the contract were actually provided.
Foley says this information is now in the hands of the Attorney General and the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission for further review.