Four top legislators are asking the Missouri attorney general to investigate outgoing lottery director May Scheve Reardon, after The Heartlander reported she’s going to work for a vendor she tried to steer lottery business to.
Reardon leaves office Friday to become the new vice president of government relations for Canada-based lottery vendor Pollard Banknote. The Heartlander has obtained an email detailing how Reardon lobbied since early 2020 for Pollard to be included in a new iLottery game – a project she abandoned late last year after her attempts to include Pollard failed.
“In a recent article published by the Heartlander, the media outlet described how May Scheve Reardon, the former director of the Missouri Lottery Commission, attempted to procure lucrative contracts for her new employer, Pollard Banknote Limited,” the lawmakers write in a Thursday letter to Attorney General Eric Schmitt. “As a result, we are asking for your office to launch an independent investigation into the alleged activities. The allegations outlined in the news article are deeply [disturbing].”
The letter is signed by Sens. Dan Hegeman and Lincoln Hough, chair and vice-chair, respectively, of the Senate Appropriations Committee, as well as Reps. Cody Smith and Dirk Deaton, chair and vice-chair of the House Budget Committee.
“As a part of your investigation, we urge you to call on the lottery commission, its former director and her staff to turn over all documents related to her employment contract with the organization,” they write. “We also ask for you to require the commission to turn over any information related to the former director’s new employer, as well as any information regarding its attempt to bid on lottery games conducted by the commission.”
Lawmakers argue in their letter that even the appearance of impropriety on the part of a director can impugn a state lottery, which relies on strict integrity for its reputation and growth.
“The success of the Missouri Lottery Commission rests on its ability to conduct fair and honest games. Even the slightest hint of impropriety anywhere within the organization forecasts a shadow of a doubt amongst those who decide to participate in their products.”
The four lawmakers urge Schmitt “to determine if any laws were broken during Scheve Reardon’s tenure as director and how the commission intends to insure these alleged incidents never happen again.”
A Dec. 28 email to Hegeman, obtained by The Heartlander, explains how Reardon, beginning in early 2020, pushed primary lottery vendor IGT to include Pollard in the proposed new digital iLottery game. IGT declined to include its competitor, and at one point was approved by Gov. Mike Parson’s administration to produce an iLottery pilot project on its own. But when Pollard wasn’t included, Reardon for some reason terminated the project.
Pollard announced last week that Reardon would be its new vice president of government relations, “heading up government relations and legislative affairs efforts.” Reardon had announced her departure, scheduled for the end of this week, in June. She’d been the Missouri Lottery director since 2009.
The Heartlander reached out to Pollard and Reardon this week for comment via emails – in particular as to whether employment talks between the two began during or after Reardon’s attempts to get Pollard a Missouri Lottery contract.
The Heartlander also inquired of Reardon why her desire to include Pollard in an iLottery contract was so central to the project that it was canceled due to a lack of involvement by the firm.