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Lottery Commissioner Says He Won't Resign After Ethics Questions Raised

Posted October 19, 2005

— The N.C. Lottery Commission has been on the job for less than a month, but the nine-member board has already come under fire as one of the members has been asked to step down.

The heat is focused on Kevin Geddings, who was appointed to the lottery commission by N.C. House Speaker Jim Black.

Because of his ties to Scientific Games, a Georgia company that's expected to seek a contract to run North Carolina's lottery, critics said Geddings could not be objective. Both the Raleigh

News & Observer

and the state Republican Party have called on Geddings to resign from the commission, which will decide what kinds of games will be available for play in North Carolina.

"There have been some questions about my objectivity as I sit on this panel," Geddings said.

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  • He said he has a long-time friendship with a vice president of Scientific Games but would recuse himself from voting on the contract.

    "l will not vote on any final vendor selection because of these acquaintances and meals that I've had and relationships I've had," he said.

    But Kevin Howell, representative of the N.C. GOP, said that would not be good enough.

    "The lottery commission needs to be above reproach, and Geddings stepping down is the first step in that direction," Howell said.

    Black, the man who appointed Geddings to the commission, also said Geddings may have to go.

    "I'm not sure what the rules are as far as him being my appointment and whether I remove him or if he can step down," Black said.

    While Black said Geddings was the most experienced with state lotteries, he said the commission should not have a cloud hanging over it.

    Concerns already have been raised about the N.C. lottery after it was reported that one of Black's political aides, Meredith Norris, worked as a consultant to Scientific Games. State officials are trying to determine if Norris and Scientific Games violated the law by not registering her as a lobbyist. On Wednesday, it was reported that Black released Norris from her position.

    For Geddings, he said it was his decision as to whether he stays or goes, and he said has no intentions of resigning.

    "Trust me, I am staying and looking forward to serve and continuing to serve," he said.

    But Black told WRAL that he has already talked to Gov. Mike Easley about the controversy, and he would be talking with Geddings over the next few days about what his role should be.

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