PEI

ALC criticized for concert tickets, Christmas party spending

An audit of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation is highly critical of the way the organization spent money on travel, concert tickets and even staff Christmas parties.

Audit finds spending 'not managed with consideration for economy or transparency'

The report takes particular issue with $14,000 ALC spent to purchase 125 tickets for the 2014 Cavendish Beach Music Festival. (Tourism P.E.I./2013)

An audit of the Atlantic Lottery Corporation is highly critical of the way the organization spent money on travel, concert tickets and even staff Christmas parties.

The joint audit was done by Atlantic Canada's four provincial auditors general and released Wednesday.

The report looked at ALC's management, tracking and approval of travel and hospitality expenses for staff and board members, and found they were "not managed with consideration for economy and transparency."

$62K on extra concert tickets

The report takes particular issue with $14,000 ALC spent to purchase 125 tickets for the 2014 Cavendish Beach Music Festival. These were over and above the 270 tickets the corporation received as a major sponsor of the event.

The report states the 125 additional tickets "were distributed to Atlantic Lottery Board members and executives; Atlantic Provinces senior government officials and elected officials; and political staff members from the Atlantic provinces."

The report also highlights $48,000 spent to purchase 300 tickets for an AC/DC concert in Moncton. 

According to the report, ALC management justified the expenses as "an opportunity to engage with stakeholders in an informal setting," but the AGs said that rationale was not supported "by facts or analysis. … These expenditures by Atlantic Lottery as currently administered, do not demonstrate an appropriate use of shareholder money."

No more corporate-sponsored Christmas parties

The AGs also took issue with $111,000 spent by ALC on staff Christmas parties and events over a two-year period, including $14,000 spent on one party alone, concluding "it is not appropriate use of Atlantic Canadian's money for Atlantic Lottery to be incurring these expenses."

ALC says it has since eliminated Christmas events sponsored by the corporation.

The audit report also expresses concern over the expensing of alcohol. Over the 29-month period of the audit, ALC staff and board members claimed $4 million in travel and hospitality expenses.

The AGs conducted a sample audit of expense claims worth $335,000. Of that, $5,000 was for alcohol. After the audit, approximately $1,500 of that $5,000 was paid back by employees and board members.

"The current policy does not address the appropriateness of alcohol as a corporate expense," the report states.

Overall, the report found travel and hospitality expenses were poorly managed. A sample audit of 59 expense claims found 38 "did not have an adequate description of the rationale or support for the expense."

ALC's President and CEO Brent Scrimshaw said the corporation would respond to all of the recommendations from the report by the end of the year.

About the Author

Kerry Campbell

Provincial Affairs Reporter

Kerry Campbell is the provincial affairs reporter for CBC P.E.I., covering politics and the provincial legislature. kerry.campbell@cbc.ca