"Last year was a record year," says Tn Lottery CEO Rebecca Hargrove.
After denying 5 interview requests prior to our investigation, Hargrove is now all too proud to share the real numbers.
"This year is an even better year than last year was," says Hargrove. "Every month this year has been a record month for the same month during any period since the lottery began in 2004."
In fact, Hargrove says profits will be around $25 million ahead of last year.
"Well, we've been here 8 years and we've grown every year," says Hargrove. "In fact, I've been running lotteries for 27-28 years and every year in the states I've been there's been growth. So I don't see any reason for that to change."
Why then do some legislators think we need to cut Hope scholarships? Some believe it may be because we've occasionally lost our focus on what lottery money is really for. Our WASTE WATCH report showed a few years back legislators spent nearly $100 million on energy efficient features that automatically turn on and off. The state statute allows for the money to be spent on school improvements, but legislators took it out of the lottery savings fund, and now say we're running low.
"Well, I'm partial," says Tn Student Assistant Corp.'s Richard Rhoda. "I'm you know let's get the higher education part nailed down, but thi is a bigger picture and there are just other views that have to be taken into consideration."
That money would have sent an estimated 25,000 students to college for a year. FOX17 found $28 million of it still sitting in that lightbulb account that lawmakers could divert back to scholarships if times are truly tough. When asked if she gets frustrated? The woman who's setting record sales was quick to toe the company line.
"Our job is to raise the dollars," says Hargrove. "The discussion on the scholarship side is really left to policy makers."
A check of Hargrove's salary shows she made $460,000 last year. She's been dubbed as the Michael Jordan of the lottery industry, and lottery officials clearly want to keep her. Also, a U.S. Congressman is getting involved in Tennessee's lottery issue. You'll hear from him Monday on FOX17 NEWS at 9. You can find all our WASTE WATCH stories on Fox17.com. Just go to HOT TOPICS and click on WASTE WATCH. You can also submit your ideas for WASTE WATCH stories in that same section.
Friday, May 4 2012, 09:31 PM CDT
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