Hoosier Lottery promises more oversight on spending

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Monday the Hoosier Lottery's board of commissioners met at the new headquarters. 13 Investigates went to that meeting so we could ask questions. Why didn't these people do something sooner?

The lottery board has oversight of the lottery's operations, but there was very little oversight when it comes to millions spent to move the lottery into a fancy new office building.

Thousands of dollars were spent on new artwork and decorations, a massive breakroom with new furniture and appliances and state-of-the-art equipment for an office workout room.

Commission Chairman Bill Zielke admitted he and other commissioners did not review any individual purchases for the new headquarters and even though he's been inside the new office many times, Zielke said he never bothered to look at some areas until they were questioned by Eyewitness News.

"Had you seen the gym before?" asked Eyewitness News.

"I knew there was a gym; certainly was aware of the fact we were going to have a gym. I had not seen the gym as the gym wasn't completed until I saw it on TV. The individual issues related to how we decorated this building, the commission did not get involved in that," said Zielke.

That is now going to change. The Lottery has a brand new interim director. On Monday, she announced the commission's audit committee will begin reviewing large expenses and contracts, and all Lottery operations are now under review.

"We've identified some internal controls and some processes that can be changed here," said Megan Ornellas, Hoosier Lottery interim director.

New construction inside the headquarters has been stopped while expenses are examined. Regarding the elaborate decorations and amenities already inside, the director is compiling a list of items that will be donated to other state agencies or returned to save taxpayer money.

Ornellas says the Lottery has "been working with the Department of Administration, hoping in the next couple of weeks by the next commission meeting we'll be able to announce completely what we've been able to uncover and what we've been able to return."

Eyewitness News asked Monday specifically about the gym equipment and some brand new, unwrapped, unused furniture at Lottery headquarters. Lottery officials wouldn't give any specifics on that. They're still making their list of what stays and what goes.

See all stories on the Hoosier Lottery investigation