Lottery says it overspent on amenities for new office

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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