A Texas Lottery Employee With Courage
Editorial by Dawn Nettles

Lottery worker's e-mail rips agency
Houston Chronicle - Nov 4, 2005

Just point and click ...

Originally Posted: Nov 4, 2004
Revised: Nov 5, 2005

- Update -
TLC Moving EquipmentTo Recovery Site
Hearing set at Capitol for Monday, Nov 14th - 11 AM. We want
resignations. Read Nov 7th & 8th postings. Click here

TX Lottery (Grief) Fires Employee With Courage ...
Executive staff lies and covers up and if employees tell anyone, they fire
them. How long is the legislature going to allow the lottery to operate
this way? We want honest government. Is that asking too much?
Houston Chronicle & Associated Press Stories
Nov 5, 2005 - Click here.

Watch the Nov 14th hearing at the Capitol, Click here.

Public Comments from those who watched the hearing, Click here.

My Nov 17, 2005 Interview
Texas Public Radio- Texas Matters. Listen to
Nov 18, 2005 (#273) story. Very interesting! Click here.

A Texas Lottery Employee With Courage
by Dawn Nettles - The Lotto Report

On Nov 2, 2005, I received an email from a current Texas Lottery employee. While the content of his message was not a surprise me - I already knew the things that he was telling me as others had already reported it to me - but what got my attention was WHO he sent the message to and that he was willing to come forward and tell what he knew was going on at the TLC while still employed there.

Now do understand, he like many others, feared losing his job because he had filed a complaint against the TLC then suddenly, he got a bad review. He knew that was the sign that he would probably get fired. Interestingly, he had quit his job previously but the TLC came looking for him because they "needed him" so he ended up going back to work for them. For 10 years, his reviews had always been good until he filed his complaint two weeks ago.

Knowing that executive staff was going to find out about his message rather quickly since he sent it to members of the legislature, I immediately notified a reporter. I did this in an effort to protect him. I also sent a copy of his message to Commissioner Clowe - I felt Commissioner Clowe needed to know what was going on.

Later I spoke with Shelton (the employee) to acknowledge receipt of his message and to let him know what I had done and what he could expect to happen next. We'll see in time if I was right!

Needless to say, I told him how glad I was to finally have someone come forward. I also asked him why he did this?

His response was magnificent - he said, "I've spoken with many ex-employees and they ALL have one regret and that is that they didn't speak up while they still worked here. I decided I was not going to live with that regret. All employees work in fear and we're tired of it ... so I took the first stand."

My hats off to this man. His courage is beyond words - I've known so much for so many years but I've never been able to convince current employees to SPEAK UP - they need their jobs which is certainly understandable - but everyone deserves and is entitled to a friendly work environment and should not be bullied by their superiors. In essence, by remaining silent, employees give "big wigs" permission to abuse them.

As a result of Shelton's message, I predict several folks will "resign" pretty soon. As they should. No one has a right to tell staff - multiple times- that if "this gets out, all of you 'son of bitches' will get fired."

The Lottery belongs to the People of Texas, those are our games, and we're tired of the lies, tricks and abuse. I can assure you, they pulled several tricks on us this past Monday during the Commission meeting which I'll go into later.

Below is the email I received and the attachment that came with the email. For those of you who may not understand the significance of the items listed, they are MAJOR. The Disaster Recovery / Business Resumption site is mandatory by law. It is explained in the Houston Chronicle story below. As for the open records issues mentioned, I am a recipient of abuse as are so many others that I know. Example - Lee Deviney (the finance man who was fired in June) was billed $21,000 for a request he made. This was absurd. I can name others but won't.

Now read Sheldon's message and the story that appears in the Houston Chronicle and know that other stories are coming ...

(The Texas Lottery fired Shelton after these stories appeared, click here to read)

The Email Shelton Charles Sent Me on 11/2/05 ...

To: Kino Flores, Corbin.Van Arsdale, LottoReport.com (Dawn Nettles)

I am a current employee of the Texas Lottery Commission. I am contacting you to make myself available to speak to activities that I have witnessed at the Lottery. Over many months I have seen attempts by State Representative, Press, and other interested parties to gather information on the Lottery. These have been blocked by Lottery management by intentionally blocking Open Records requests.

1). The Lottery Disaster Recovery / Business Resumption site has never been operational. Management has been hiding this fact through the lies and manipulation of information. Employees have been threatened in IR with their jobs if they spoke about this to anyone. SunGuard was hired to develop a plan to fix this. But through out the entire process, the actual state of the site has not changed. Millions have been spent on the site and the cover up continues.

2). Numerous Open Records request are blocked by inflating the cost of obtaining information to the public. I have sat in meetings where the main topic of discussion was setting costs that would force requests to be pulled or modified to limit information release.

The Lottery is a hostile work place where employees are bullied into silence. I've been at the Lottery for almost 10 years in the IR /IT department. I have reached the point where I want to speak out on these issues. I hope that there are still people who want to give the Texas Lottery back the PEOPLE of Texas.

The only cure for the Lottery is an open investigation with the power to deal with this hostile Management.

I have attached an email that I sent to my management and Gary Grief.

The Email Shelton Charles Sent to His Superiors


I have been instructed by my representation not to sign the attached document. I acknowledge that I have met with Joan Kotal and Joe Goebler on 10/25/05. As a result of incidents that preceded this meeting, I feel I have no alternative but to take action.

I have been treated in a discriminatory manner both in salary and working environment for some time now and will take steps to bring this to light. I have accepted this treatment for fear of losing my job for the sake of my family and career.

There is a point when fear and hostile treatment loose their effectiveness. That point has been reached and by taking this stance, I know I will loose my job, my career with the state, and in all likelihood, my home.

But when employees are so galvanized in fear that Director level managers can make statements like (and I quote), "I'll fire everyone of you Son of a Bitches on my way out" and employees are filled with such fear no one speaks out. When salary, treatment and advancement are based on racial bias, what do we do?

I have devoted many years to the Lottery and am appalled by what has been done to me and others. I fully expect to be walked out of Lottery as so many others. But I've taken a Morale stance against the discrimination and hostile work environment that is present at the Lottery.

Shelton Charles

Lottery worker's e-mail rips agency
Lawmakers to look into claims of cover-ups and hostile working conditions
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

AUSTIN - The House committee that oversees the Texas Lottery is investigating claims by a senior lottery systems analyst that agency management misled lawmakers about an emergency control center that doesn't work, blocked open record requests and bullied employees into secrecy at the $3.5 billion agency.

Shelton Charles, a network analyst who oversees much of the lottery's technical operations, made his claims in an e-mail he sent Wednesday to state Reps. Corbin Van Arsdale and Kino Flores, who chairs the House Licensing and Regulation Committee.

"I have been at the lottery for almost 10 years," Charles wrote. "I have reached the point where I want to speak out on these issues. I hope that there are still people who want to give the Texas Lottery back to the PEOPLE of Texas."

Lottery spokesman Bobby Heith said he had not seen Charles' letter, which he deemed a "personnel issue."

"We don't comment on personnel issues," Heith said.

Milda Mora, chief clerk for the committee Flores oversees, said she was familiar with some of Charles' accusations and that Flores and the committee will seek specifics.

"He just wants more information," Mora said. "We're not having a committee meeting yet on it and I don't know if we're going to, but we are looking into it."

Charles' first accusation is that the lottery's disaster recovery or business resumption site — a concrete bunker — which the Legislature required state agencies to develop in the mid-1990s, "has never been operational."

"Management has been hiding this fact through their lies and manipulation of information," Charles wrote. "Employees have been threatened with their jobs if (they) spoke about this to anyone."

Charles' comments on the site echo those of several former employees interviewed by the Chronicle in the past few months.

'Purely overkill'
The Austin site, which cost more than $1.3 million to build and maintain, includes a steel-reinforced concrete bunker-like structure with walls 3 feet thick, according to several employees who have seen or helped develop the site.

"It could probably take a nuclear blast," said Bill Hensler, a former network services manager for the lottery. "It was overkill. It was purely overkill."

Hensler and Charles both say computer equipment was installed at the site, but it didn't properly receive data that would have enabled lottery employees to carry out their duties if a disaster destroyed the lottery's downtown Austin headquarters.

"Millions have been spent on the site and the cover-up continues," Charles wrote.

He also said in his letter that the Lottery Commission regularly tries to block requests for public information that might reveal wrongdoing at the agency.

Charles said he hopes his letter will inspire an "open investigation" into his claims.

He wrote that he made the assertions at the risk of losing his job, but that he decided to go public when he received a negative evaluation, which he took to mean that that the agency was going to fire him.

The lottery has been criticized for a pattern of firing qualified employees, without explanation, even though many received positive evaluations. Charles said the hostile workplace still exists. Charles, who is black, said he recently filed an employee discrimination lawsuit with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, citing unequal salary, treatment and advancement opportunities at the agency.


TX Lottery (Grief) Fires Employee With Courage ...
Executive staff lies and covers up and if employees tell anyone, they fire
them. How long is the legislature going to allow the lottery to operate
this way? We want honest government. Is that asking too much?
Houston Chronicle & Associated Press Stories
Nov 5, 2005 - Click here.

Lottery's At-Will Firings Keep Employees On Edge
Houston Chronicle - Posted 8/8/05 - Click here

(TX) Lottery Commission's personnel policies questioned (AP Wire)
& They Won The Jackpot ... Lottery money can bring mixed blessings
Posted August 4, 2005 - Click here

Lottery Troubles Everywhere & Message To TLC Employees!
Columnist's slams of Texas Lottery going unnoticed in Austin
Editorial by Ken Rodriguez - Express-News Staff Writer
Ex-Employees (Texas) Sends Video And They Request
that I relay a message to current employees - The Lotto Report
Click here to read all five stories

Two Stories As They Appear In
the Houston Chronicle & SA Express News
Lottery enlists help from outsiders by Lisa Falkenberg
There's still a chance for Lottery to lose even
more credibility by Ken Rodriguez
(Posted 7/23/05) Click here

E-mail To Lawmakers Reveal ...
Commissioner Cox, Gary Grief & Reagan Greer knew but
took NO action ... Apparently they chose to deceive the public. Click here.

True Findings Vanish From Final Audit Report (More Deception)
Lottery Watchdog's Bite 5 Years In Making (About Me)

Click here

- Two Stories And One Editorial By Me -
Lottery losing more than sales — it's losing credibility

Editorial by Ken Rodriguez - San Antonio Express News
Lottery chief gets blame for inflated jackpots
Editorial by Karen Brooks - Dallas Morning News
I Was Frustrated ... About Gary Grief, Kim Kiplin,
Diane Morris & the Commissioners.

Editorial by Dawn Nettles - The Lotto Report
Posted July 3, 2005 - Click here

A Special Message To All TLC
Employees - Past & Present

Click here.

Just point and click ...

The Lotto Report
Dawn Nettles
P. O. Box 495033
Garland, Texas 75049-5033
(972) 686-0660
(972) 681-1048 Fax