Lottery responds to allegations of lewd behavior by some officials

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The California Lottery has responded to accusations of inappropriate public conduct by some managers while traveling on official business.

A whistleblower sent a letter written by various employees to Governor Brown, Lt. Governor Newsom and various union members, along with ABC7 News anchor Dion Lim alleging gross misconduct by some top managers at the lottery. The accusations of sexual harassment and inappropriate comments in the workplace were coupled with photos of what appear to be those managers engaging in inappropriate behavior at a Southern California bar in 2016.

One photo includes an alleged manager giving someone the middle finger and putting his head up the front of a woman's shirt.

According to the letter the behavior in the photos is a "gross violation" of the California Government Code of Conduct.

"I'm not surprised. No, I'm not surprised," said Donna Sullivan, retired lottery worker.

RELATED: Some California State Lottery executives accused of lewd behavior

Donna Sullivan worked for the Lottery for over 35 years and just recently retired, she says because of behavior like this.

"The climate got very bad," said Sullivan.

"I think it would be better if the boys club was disbanded and the lottery would go back to doing business of the lottery -- giving money to education," said Sullivan.

Paulina Vasquez is a shop steward for the union representing lottery employees. She says complaints like Sullivan's started several years ago.

"We regularly receive concerns regarding management's behavior or bullying in the workplace of conduct, foul language things of that nature," said Vasquez.

Friday morning, two days after the letter was sent, California Lottery Commissioners provided ABC7 News with a statement saying in part that, "The California Lottery Commission strives to provide a professional work environment and holds its employees to the highest standards. All Employees are subject to the Lottery's ethical conduct standards and are expected to handle themselves responsibly and professionally when representing the Lottery."

The statement goes on to say "Allegations of inappropriate behavior by employees are taken very seriously. The Commission is reviewing the allegations...appropriate action will be taken. However the Commission cannot comment on individual personal matters."

Governor Jerry Brown's office confirmed Friday that the State Controller's Office is conducting an investigation of the Lottery's financial management practices. The Attorney General's Office has been asked to look into the matter.
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