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Lottery gets more time to file brief in contract case appeal

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The 1st District Court of Appeal last week OK’d the Florida Lottery’s request for more time to file its initial brief in an appeal over its invalidated $700 million contract for new equipment.

The agency now has till “on or before July 7,” according to an online docket.

The Lottery filed its challenge after Tallahassee-based Circuit Judge Karen Gievers in March struck down a $700 million multiple-year contract involving, in part, new equipment for draw and scratch-off tickets.

She essentially agreed with House Speaker Richard Corcoran that the agency went on an illegal spending spree when it inked the deal last year.

Because then-Lottery Secretary Tom Delacenserie “lacked the legal authority to enter into the IGT (International Game Technology) contract, (it) must, therefore, be found to be void and unenforceable,” Gievers said.

She agreed with House general counsel Adam Tanenbaum, who had said the deal broke state law by going “beyond (the Lottery’s) existing budget limitations.”

The deal also included provisions for in-store signage, self-service ticket checkers and upgraded security in the communications network.

The Lottery has countered that the Legislature cannot “micromanage individual contracts,” saying the state’s “invitation to negotiate” for the contract discloses that any deal would be contingent on “an annual appropriation” from lawmakers. Such a disclosure is required under state law.

Before joining Florida Politics, journalist and attorney James Rosica was state government reporter for The Tampa Tribune. He attended journalism school in Washington, D.C., working at dailies and weekly papers in Philadelphia after graduation. Rosica joined the Tallahassee Democrat in 1997, later moving to the courts beat, where he reported on the 2000 presidential recount. In 2005, Rosica left journalism to attend law school in Philadelphia, afterwards working part time for a public-interest law firm. Returning to writing, he covered three legislative sessions in Tallahassee for The Associated Press, before joining the Tribune’s re-opened Tallahassee bureau in 2013. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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