Hoosier Lottery executive director resigns

Kathryn Densborn
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Updated: .

INDIANAPOLIS - There is major fallout from a story that 13 investigates first broke about the amount of money spent by the Hoosier Lottery on new offices, including a $25,000 gym for employees. Hoosier Lottery Executive Director Kathryn Densborn, who was in charge of the move to the new offices, has resigned.

Kathryn Densborn's last day at the Hoosier Lottery office ended with a mad dash to her car to avoid the news media. She had no answer to questions about why she resigned, or about whether she believed she had done anything wrong.

The state lottery's move to a new location on Meridian captured the attention of WTHR chief Investigative Reporter Bob Segall.

The new office was 35,000 square feet, and Densborn told WTHR, "We have a lot more meeting rooms. We have small meeting rooms. Large meeting rooms.  We have an employee break room. We made that very, very large. I never expected to do this."

Densborn took Bob on a tour, allowing him to add up the cost.

"Those nine new conference rooms. Furniture for them cost almost $50,000. There is more than a quarter million dollars in new employee work spaces but 13 Investigates found many of them are empty. We found $200 clocks, $319 mirrors, $553 chairs and $800 bar stools. A work table cost over $11,000 and the gym equipment totaled over $25,000.

A news conference was held last week in which the Lottery admitted to some mistakes but no resignation or firing. On Friday that all changed.  Densborn submitted her resignation, saying this would be her last day. Gov. Mitch Daniels accepted it.

State Democratic Party Chairman Dan Parker, who called for Densborn to be fired last week, pounced on the latest development.

"Mitch Daniels has appointed two Lottery Directors", he said in a released statement. "Both cost taxpayers a lot of money and wound up resigning under clouds of scandal.  They're part of a growing list of agency heads who've stepped down after making embarrassing, costly mistakes.  At some point, you'd think Gov. Daniels would practice within his administration the same brand of accountability he preaches and writes about externally."

The Daniels administration says it's in the process of selling off some of the more expensive equipment.

The Hoosier Lottery operates as a quasi state agency and its spending has a direct impact on you. The money it makes and is spent by the lottery plays a role in determining how much of a break you get on the excise tax at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles. Lottery money also goes to fund pensions of firefighters and teachers.

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