April 1, 2003 – Sen. Adlah "Foncie" Donastorg said on Tuesday evening that he has received no response to a blistering letter he sent to the V.I. Lottery executive director, Austin Andrews, on Friday condemning Andrews' failure to release documents subpoenaed nearly two weeks ago by the Senate Finance Committee, which Donastorg chairs.
Donastorg wrote Andrews: "At this point, the V.I. Lottery Office can best be described as an 'outlaw agency' operating beyond both ethical and legal confines."
Senate efforts to obtain information about V.I. Lottery finances have run into roadblocks. On Feb. 24, having announced that the Finance Committee would conduct an audit of lottery operations, Donastorg went with a member of the Legislature's post audit staff to the V.I. Lottery St. Thomas offices seeking documents relating to the agency's operations and revenues and details about contracts with game providers. They were turned away at the door on the orders of Government House.
Attorney General Iver Stridiron subsequently said that the Turnbull administration does not object to the Finance Committee's accessing lottery financial records for an audit, but that Donastorg had not issued the proper "notification." (See "Senate Lottery audit hits administration wall".)
Although he has been invited repeatedly to testify, Andrews has yet to appear at any 25th Legislature committee meetings. In the absence of a Lottery Commission with enough members to attain a quorum, Andrews has had unilateral control over lottery operations and decisions for several years.
The Finance Committee voted on March 18 to subpoena the lottery records. Lottery officials sent a few documents to the Senate the day after the deadline set in the subpoenas, Donastorg said. But those papers, he said, do not include the "most pertinent" information requested:
– The lotterys Fiscal Year 2002 financial statements.
– A list of revenues generated by the V.I. government through the Powerball game.
– A list of all individuals paid through the distribution of net profits, to include all principals, and the amount paid to each.
– Receipts for the requisition forms that were submitted.
– Documentation of all expenditures.
– All receipts related to revenues generated for the V.I. Lottery.
"Refusal to turn the documents requested over to the Legislature's Post Audit Division constitutes a clear violation of V.I. law," Donastorg said in his letter to Andrews, "and your subsequent decision to ignore the Finance Committee's subpoenas is an affront to this institution and the citizens of this territory."
Donastorg said in the letter that the Post Audit Division will not be "derailed from conducting this audit, and every attempt to avoid fully cooperating is being duly noted." He told Andrews that, "as the lawful custodian of the documents in question, you can and will be held personally responsible for failing to cooperate."
Neither Stridiron nor Andrews returned calls seeking comment on Tuesday afternoon.
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