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Lottery says it overspent on amenities for new office

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Indiana lottery officials say they overspent on their new headquarters and will sell some of their equipment after reports raised questions about the lavish facility.

The Hoosier Lottery officials said during a news conference Wednesday that they did not comply with Department of Administration requirements in the move from to a 35,000-square-foot office on Meridian Street.

The news conference came a week after Indianapolis television stations WTHR and WRTV raised questions about spending on the facility. WTHR reported it had found invoices for $200 clocks, $319 mirrors, $553 chairs, $800 bar stools and $11,500 work tables. And state-of-the-art exercise equipment in the lottery's new workout gym that totals more than $25,000.

Furniture for a break room cost more than $28,000, which doesn't include thousands spent on artwork and appliances. New furniture to fill nine conference rooms totals almost $50,000, WTHR reported.

The lottery operates off ticket sales, but excess revenue contributes to public employees' pensions and to reducing vehicle excise taxes. Its bi-partisan commission and director are appointed by the governor.

Hoosier Lottery Chairman William Zielke said Wednesday the organization wasn't thinking like a government agency when leaders approved some of the amenities at the new office, located in a former Buick dealership showroom.

IBJ reported in September 2010 that the lottery was moving from Pan Am Plaza to the new location. The building at 1302 N. Meridian was built in 1923.

He said the exercise equipment will be sold and the space will be used another way.

"If there was an error here, it was in the desire to make this a great place to work, and perhaps in the enthusiasm for that, we lost track a little bit of the foot that we also have in government," Zielke said. "We operate in a little bit different environment here, but that environment is not so far removed from the government that we shouldn't keep an eye on their standards."

Zielke said Gov. Mitch Daniels has urged the lottery to follow the same rules as other state agencies.

"It is our intent to bring (the offices) into compliance with those Department of Administration standards," Zielke said.

Director Kathryn Densborn has said the lottery was outgrowing its space and that a new headquarters "made incredible sense."

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  • agree with this
    Got to agree here. When did it become so fashionable to not give employees a good place to work? The company that I am at has a workout room for the employees. It helps them stay in shape giving the company a healthier and more productive workplace. These gotcha journalism pieces that throw out numbers like this are really not good. Yes they could buy Wal-Mart furniture that lasts 3 months, but guess what? they will buy it 25 times. If an auditor says it was ok, leave it alone.
  • Gov't Procurement Rules
    I don't think the general public realizes that there are certain gov't entities that are considered "quasi-governmental" in nature due to statutes that created them, and therefore, have much more leeway in how they operate then other state gov't agencies. This includes hiring, salaries, contracting, etc. I am not talking about perceptions and poor judgment but what the entity is legally obligated to do and comply with Frankly a bit more sunshine on the quasi's (do you know who they all are) wouldn't hurt.
  • Lottery
    Does anyone know if the Lottery's lease had expired prior to moving from Pan Am Plaza? I have heard that they had moved prior to it expiring hence paying double rent. this can get extremly expensive.
  • Over reaction?
    I can't believe we are spending time complaining about a local company, using local vendors to create a nice local headquarter space. Here, all this time, I thought we were trying to drive businesses TO Indiana. I think the government should look harder at treating their employees with the respect that the Lottery does. The government has a way of suggesting the norm in a work environment should be the bare minimum required to do your job. What about valuing employees, creating an environment that makes people want to come to work and do a good job? I personally think $25k for a gym is a great deal and what a value to employees.
    With all of the news stories that the news could run, how about looking at something positive instead of consistently digging for flaws in other people and organizations. It isn't great news, it makes our city look cheap and shows once again that money is way more important than any type of value an organization can bring.

    Story Suggestion - local company gives millions to support our local firefighters, police and teachers. (aka the Hoosier Lottery and the over $30million they donated).
    • Not That Expensive
      If anyone has priced office furniture lately I don't believe they overpaid for anything. The lotter is a more upbeat atmosphere anyway compaired to "government" offices. The nice decore only helps promote the lottery. Also, what is wrong with having their employees work out...don't we want them healthy so health insurance premiums stay low? Just news sensationalism.
    • Clean House!
      How many people does the Lottery employ? Several "leaders" need to go. This is a sign of lack of judgment. Most likely they overpaid for everything they bought and selling it now will yield pennies on the dollar. This is not a satisfactory remedy. I am all for a healthy workforce, but reimbursing employees their monthly fee who regularly visit LA Fitness would be a much better investment. Where else are they exercising poor judgment? Who are they employing - friend, relatives? Who are getting contracts? We really need a full investigation.

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