The director of the Ohio Lottery Commission resigned abruptly last week, announcing his retirement and citing unspecified medical reasons.
Now, the governor is calling for an investigation into complaints received alleging potential “HR irregularities” at the Ohio Lottery.
Ohio governor wants an independent firm to investigate Lottery
Dan Tierney, a spokesperson for Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, did not elaborate on the nature of supposed irregularities but told Cleveland.com in an email, “The independent investigation will determine any Lottery staff involvement in any alleged irregularities.”
Karen Kasler of the Statehouse News Bureau reported DeWine as saying, “This was a complaint that we had, or complaints that we had in in regard to personnel. And what we are doing now is … we’re going to bring in an outside group. We think that’s the best thing to do and let them take take the information and the complaints that have been made, delve into it. We’ll find out what the facts are.”
Longtime Ohio Lottery executive’s resignation raises eyebrows
The former Lottery director, Pat McDonald, resigned abruptly on April 12 in a two-sentence email sent to DeWine’s chief of staff, Stephanie McCloud. McDonald wrote:
“This is to notify you that I am retiring from my position of Director of the State of Ohio Lottery Commission effective today, April 12, 2023, due to medical reasons. It has been a pleasure to serve the people of Ohio.”
Two staffers from DeWine’s office, including McCloud, accompanied McDonald as he left the Cleveland lottery offices for the final time on Wednesday, DeWine confirmed.
McDonald was with the Ohio Lottery Commission for 16 years, first serving on the board of directors from 2007 until 2019, when he was appointed as director. Previously, McDonald worked as the director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
DeWine has appointed Michelle Gillcrist as interim Lottery director, until a new candidate is appointed. Gillcrist had been serving as the governor’s aerospace and defense liason, and regional liason for Northeast Ohio.
Ohio Lottery awards two big jackpots in two days
On an unrelated note, a Powerball ticket sold in Ohio hit the jackpot for $252.6 million on April 19. The ticket sold at Get Go #3279 in Macedonia, which is located between Cleveland and Akron. The win was Ohio’s fourth Powerball jackpot since the game launched in Ohio in 2010. The winner can choose to take the cash value of the prize in a lump sum payment of $134.7 million.
Wednesday’s winning Powerball numbers were 4, 11, 21, 38, 64, and Powerball 11. The Power Play multiplier was 3X.
The big jackpot win comes immediately after two Mega Millions tickets hit that game’s jackpot in consecutive drawings on April 14 and 18.
On April 18, an Ohio Lottery Mega Millions ticket hit $1 million by matching the first five numbers, but not the Mega Ball. That winning ticket was sold at a Circle K store located at 825 N. Rocky River Drive in Berea. The winning Mega Millions numbers on April 18 were 7, 9, 15, 19, 25, and Mega Ball 4.
Both Powerball and Mega Millions are nationwide lottery games, sold in most states plus Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Washington D.C. State lotteries manage their own ticket sales and local prize payouts (aside from the jackpot). The drawings take place in other states and are not managed by the Ohio Lottery.