07 June 2007

Whistleblower Sacked After Talking to Lawmakers

Appearing before legislative leaders may have come at a price for the outgoing director of West Virginia's nationally renowned problem gambler program.

Mia Moran-Cooper has told The Associated Press that she was fired without warning and left stranded in Missouri, one day after alleging the Lottery Commission had interfered with the Problem Gamblers Help Network.

Scheduled to leave at the end of the month, Moran-Cooper "had flown to Kansas City on Wednesday to attend a national conference on compulsive gambling, where she discovered her hotel room reservation and corporate credit card had been canceled," the AP's Vicki Smith reports.

"Moran-Cooper said her flight reservations also had vanished Wednesday afternoon, but an airline employee was able to retrieve them and issue her a boarding pass to Kansas City," the AP article said.

The AP has unsuccessfully sought from First Choice President Craig Curtis and CEO Scott Boileau, both by phone and via questions faxed to their office.

After Moran-Cooper spoke at a legislative interim meeting Tuesday, Curtis called Moran-Cooper's allegations 'unsubstantiated, misleading or false' in a statement. But Lottery Director John Musgrave asked the legislative auditor's office to investigate her allegations of interference and micromanagement.

The tumult comes as Jefferson and Ohio counties prepare to vote Saturday on whether to allow their local racetracks to become full-blown casinos. The AP's Vicki Smith has a separate story today setting the stage for the special elections, while MetroNews examines the ongoing campaigns by supporters and opponents of table games.

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