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December 16, 2009

In The Sun Today: Slots and port contracts, and more slots

The Board of Public Works had a busy morning. The panel postponed voting on a slots contract with GTECH Corp. and then approved a 50-year lease of Baltimore's port terminal to Ports America. Comptroller Peter Franchot raised questions about the wisdom of the ports deal and about the legality of approving the slots contract before its funding source -- slots machines -- are operational. We had a stories today on the history of corruption allegations against GTECH, and on a possible investor in a proposed Baltimore slots casino. The casino project will be discussed Thursday at a state slots commission meeting.

Oft-investigated GTECH may get Md. slots computer work
Subsidiary of Italian firm could run central operations

Maryland officials are poised to approve a $21.5 million contract to set up the central operating system for the state's slot machine program to a company that has been accused of questionable practices in other states and countries and at one time was connected to a scandal here.

The Board of Public Works, a three-member panel that includes Gov. Martin O'Malley, plans to consider the contract with GTECH Corp. today. The five-year agreement, which could be extended another five years for $17.4 million, is considered vital to launching the slots program.

The company or its employees have faced allegations of bribery and taking kickbacks in cases that date to the 1990s. A background investigation conducted by Maryland lottery staff revealed that "some of GTECH's past actions remain under scrutiny, but it appears that no conclusions have been reached as to any alleged wrongdoing."

GTECH officials acknowledged various investigations and litigation by government authorities into "possible contract and regulatory issues." The lottery staff and members of the lottery commission, which reviewed the contract, concluded that GTECH shouldn't be disqualified.

For the full story, click here.

For our story on the Baltimore investor, click here.

For Jay Hancock's column on the ports deal, click here.

Posted by Laura Smitherman at 12:00 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Slots


When will the Sun question if O'Malley gave out gift cards from developers?

How could Marty not know about the gift cards!!!!!!

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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