Monday, August 31, 2009

It's your money: OLG spending edition

Lotteries and casinos provide huge revenues for the government, but they are supposed to be put into a "locked box" for specific purposes. In most American states, the monies are used for education. The base is slightly larger in Canada, but the primary purposes are intended to be education, social service projects and environmental protection.
Of course, there is going to be overhead running a gaming commission. But we expect the commissioners, as public servants, to be reasonable in their expense claims. Apparently that message did not get through to the OLG, the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation. Today, the corp's chair was sacked and the entire board of directors also resigned.

Among the expenses claimed: Nanny services, pen refill cartridges, and car detailing. And remarkably, a deposit on a Florida condo (that was cancelled, but the charge should not have been made in the first place).
As usual, "maybe it's me," but I thought most business people and government officials normally have two credit cards so they can separate legitimate business expenses from the personal ones. Why was that not the case here? And why aren't auditors doing more strict scrutiny on this issue? It shouldn't take a FOIA request to find wrongdoing. Whistleblowers need the same kind of legal protections in Canada as they do in the States.

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