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Third N.C. Lottery commissioner resigns

Nov 15, 2005, 3:42 pm

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North Carolina Lottery

Another member of the North Carolina State Lottery Commission has resigned, saying a potential conflict of interest has made it difficult for him to contribute to the panel.

Gordon Myers was until recently a vice president for Ingles Markets and said he continues to have a financial interest in the business. He was worried that could create a conflict since Asheville-based Ingles may decide to sell lottery tickets.

Myers submitted his resignation letter to commission chairman Charles Sanders late Monday, according to the office of House Speaker Jim Black, who selected Myers for the commission.

While Myers already had said he wouldn't participate in any votes that could involve his former employer, he told Sanders that it was best to step aside "given the absolute need for transparency in all actions on this commission and the need for all commission members to fully engage in the important process."

Myers is the third of the original nine commission members to resign since the panel was formed in September.

Another member selected by Black, Kevin Geddings of Charlotte, resigned two weeks ago, just hours before it was disclosed that he had been paid $24,500 by a potential lottery vendor for work performed this year as the General Assembly debated lottery legislation. Geddings and others are now under investigation for potential violations of the state lobbying law.

Myers was selected because the new state lottery law required one member to have retail experience. The state Board of Ethics last month said Myers had a potential conflict of interest after reviewing a document he filed chronicling his business and other connections. But the board's chief executive said Myers didn't necessarily have to step down because of his relationship with Ingles.

Ingles said it became apparent to him at last week's commission meeting that "approving retail locations for lottery ticket sales will be controversial." Each lottery ticket outlet will receive 7 percent of the revenues from each ticket the outlet sells.

Black said in a statement Tuesday he was disappointed to see Ingles go since he "brought a wealth of retail and business experience to the lottery commission."

Sanders didn't immediately return a phone call seeking comment.

Myers is a former member of the Asheville City Council and served on the state Board of Transportation and Economic Development Board. He is chairman of the board of AdvantageWest, which promotes economic development in western North Carolina.

Another original commissioner, Malachi Greene of Charlotte, stepped down last month because he said he didn't have the time or energy to give to the commission, which wants to get tickets sold by next spring.

A Greensboro woman agreed to replace Greene, but she quickly withdrew after learning that her husband's law practice had clients that could create a conflict of interest.

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