D.C. Controller N. Anthony Calhoun said yesterday he had canceled the six bids for a contract to monitor the city's televised lottery games because a review panel's decision was disclosed prematurely.
Calhoun said the process became tainted because of newspaper reports that the panel had ranked the auditing firm of Hill, Taylor & Co., which has held the lottery contract since August 1983, first among the six bidders.
Calhoun said the panel's recommendation became public before even he knew the result of the panel's scoring.
"If that's not a tainted process, I don't know what is," said Calhoun, who said he scrubbed the bid process three weeks ago on the advice of corporation counsel. Calhoun said that Hill, Taylor had submitted the lowest bid.
"The contract will be rebid," said Robert Reid, comptroller of the lottery. "There are some questions that have to be presented to the board of directors" about the initial bidding.
Calhoun said the cancellation is unrelated to a federal grand jury investigation of possible kickbacks between Hill, Taylor and former D.C. deputy mayor Alphonse Hill.
Under the contract, employes from Hill, Taylor are present in local television studios to monitor the selection of the winning lottery numbers. The firm is paid $100 a day for its services, which include checking the number of numbered balls in the lottery hoppers, checking the balls' weight and sealing the hoppers after the game is played, according to lottery spokeswoman Kay Hixson.
Hill, Taylor is continuing to monitor the games under a month-by-month contract until a new three-year contract is awarded, according to Douglass W. Gordon, executive director of the lottery. Gordon said the new bids would be issued in two to three weeks.
The amount of the new contract is about $120,000, Calhoun said.
Council member H.R. Crawford (D-Ward 7), head of the Committee on Libraries, Recreation and Charitable Games, said it is possible the same six firms may bid again with the same results. "We just want to make sure that everything is done properly," he said.