A draft of the original 1981 proposal for bids on the city's instant-winner lottery games was sent prematurely to the president of the Atlanta-based firm that several months later won the lucrative contract to help run and provide tickets for the games.
The document, formally known as a "request for proposals" and used as the basis for firms to bid on city contracts, was mailed to the Atlanta home of Daniel Bower, president of Scientific Games Inc., a leading company in the instant lottery business.
An attorney for Scientific Games said yesterday that Bower had not solicited the document, did not know who had sent it to him and immediately returned it when he was told the document had been prematurely released.
The leak, discovered by a D.C. lottery board official visiting in Atlanta, resulted in tighter security procedures by the board and an investigation by the Office of Inspector General, according to board officials.
Board Chairman Brant Coopersmith said in an interview this week that the inspector general's investigation found that too many city agencies had handled the document to determine who had sent it to Bower.
One lottery board official said "there was absolutely no need to change" the document because of the leak, but said that "any company would be interested in a draft just to see what direction we are moving."
Coopersmith said that the leak did not compromise the bidding process because the final document issued in March 1982 by the board was substantially different from the one Bower received in late August or early September 1981.
Board officials made no public mention of the security lapse. Subsequently, officials have said privately that they were concerned at the time about the board's public image and about congressional efforts to eliminate funding for legal gambling in the District.
The board's operations and contracting procedures have recently come under political attack from Mayor Marion Barry and top officials of his administration and from competing firms seeking to do business with the board.
The document Bower received specified some of the proposed requirements that a company would have to meet to get the instant-winner game contract.
Lottery board officials said the leaked document did not contain key information that would have benefited Scientific Games, such as the type and size of lottery tickets the board wanted.
Scientific Games, under a joint venture with Games Production Inc. (GPI), a D.C.-based minority firm, won the instant-winner contract in June 1982. Scientific's chief responsibility is to provide tickets for the instant games.
Scientific Games and GPI won the contract over two other firms. Both firms unsuccessfully protested the award and said that the board violated its own guidelines when it acted on the contract. However, the challenges were rejected in court and by a city contract appeals board. The question of the leaked document was not raised during the protests.
David P. Towey, a lawyer for Scientific Games, said that Bower was unaware of any inquiry by the D.C. inspector general and said no one had asked him about the incident since it was first raised.
Douglass Gordon, who at the time of the leak was the board's acting executive director, said in response to reporters' questions yesterday that he learned of the leak when he telephoned Bower in late August or early September 1981.
Gordon, who was visiting his son at Morehouse College in Atlanta, said he had been asked by the board to make a courtesy call on Bower, whose firm had played a role in the campaign to legalize gambling in Washington and was considered an expert in the instant lottery field.
"He Bower said he had received the package I had sent him," Gordon said. "I asked, 'What package?' " Gordon, now a special assistant to the board, said he asked Bower to open the package and when Bower read part of the proposal, Gordon said he realized what Bower had.
Gordon told Bower to return it to the lottery board and immediately notified Coopersmith by telephone.
"I told him to call city purchasing officials ," Coopersmith said. "They told him to get the darn thing back."
Board member Carolyn Lewis said yesterday she requested the inspector general's investigation after sources she declined to name had accused her of leaking the document. "I was pretty outraged by what I had heard," Lewis said.
After the leak, lottery officials limited the distribution and began numbering future copies of the draft document.