A three-member panel of city officials yesterday rejected a complaint that the D.C. Lottery Board improperly failed to give sufficient time for one of three competing firms to bid on the city's lucrative daily numbers gambling contract.
"The obvious disruption and attendant substantial revenue loss to the District government that would result should the subject contract be terminated cannot be ignored," according to the decision of the Contract Review Committee, which heard the complaint filed by Columbia Gaming Inc.
The lottery board last month awarded the contract to Lottery Technology Enterprises (LTE) following months of political controversy involving Mayor Marion Barry and the five-member board. Barry and his top aides pressed the board to overturn its original decision.
Columbia Gaming had complained to the review committee that the lottery board had given the competing firms only 18 days to prepare new bids after the board overturned its original award to LTE. Columbia Gaming did not submit a new bid and still has a suit pending in D.C. Superior Court to overturn the award to LTE.
The review committee agreed that the time "was relatively short," but said the time was sufficient "in view of the past proceedings. . . . The committee is satisfied that the board's judgment on this issue was not arbitrary or capricious."
The review committee, led by former assistant corporation counsel James E. Lemert, said the board's quick scheduling of demonstration projects for the three bidders may not have been "entirely proper," but said the decision had not "impaired in any meaningful way the ability of a bona fide offeror to compete."
In a separate gambling issue yesterday, lottery board officials, under new orders from the mayor's budget aides to reduce spending by about $225,000, were given more time to defend their budget.
Last week, lottery board executive director Chester C. Carter threatened to resign if forced to carry out the budget reductions, which follow by less than a month a separate reduction of $500,000 in the board's budget request.