by Taylor Beck
An audit of the Missouri State Lottery Commission released on Tuesday, Nov. 27, showed problems for the agency in long-term contracts, sponsorships, advertising expenditures and violations in sunshine laws.
The audit revealed that $5 million in advertising went unreported to state lawmakers. The commission said those expenses were reported elsewhere in its budget, but the expenditures were not considered “advertising.”
Gary Gonder, the lottery’s chief operations officer, said those expenses were reported under the same guidelines as other state agencies.
“Every penny that we spend, whether it’s a ballpoint pen or it’s advertising, is reported. There’s just different object codes,” Gonder said.
The audit said the commission did not properly document some topics discussed in closed meetings, which violates the state’s open meetings law. Gonder said the commission agrees with the audit’s recommendation to correctly document what will be discussed in closed meetings.
“In order to be able to speak about something, whether it’s an open or closed meeting, you must maintain what’s on the agenda and our commission agrees with that,” Gonder said.
The audit also showed the commission spent over $400,000 sponsoring community events, but a majority had a negative return on investment. Gonder said the commission decides which events to sponsor based on a mathematical formula.
The commission received an overall rating of “good,” and Gonder said the commission agrees with all of the audit’s recommendations.