Allege Retaliation for Whistle Blowing

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NEW YORK ( -- A lawsuit filed in Philadelphia by two Pennsylvania state senators and a group of
An agency alleges it lost the lottery account for revealing to state auditors damaging information about lottery funds mismanagement.
advertising industry executives seeks to nullify the results of the state lottery's latest advertising agency review.

That review, which ousted the company that held the account for 25 years -- Interpublic Group of Cos.' Tierney Communications -- awarded the work to MARC USA, Pittsburgh. A spokesman at MARC said the firm had no comment on the lawsuit and referred inquiries to the state Department of Revenue.

Plaintiff ad executives
Included among the 12 plaintiffs in the action are Brian Tierney, founder of Tierney Communications, and seven other executives from agencies or service companies that are Tierney vendors. State senators Vincent Fumo and Joseph Conti are also plaintiffs.

Filed July 10 in Commonwealth Court against the Department of Revenue, which oversees the lottery, the suit alleges the review process was unfair. It seeks to have the contract award thrown out and the Revenue Department prohibited from beginning work with MARC USA. The suit also seeks to force the department to issue a new request for proposals for the lottery advertising account, essentially restarting the agency selection process.

Retaliation alleged
The plaintiffs, who described themselves as "a group of Pennsylvania taxpayers," allege that Tierney did not ultimately win the contract because the Revenue Department was retaliating against it for whistle blowing.

The complaint says Tierney cooperated with the state Auditor General's Office during a recent special audit of lottery operations that took place prior to the review. It alleges that Tierney provided auditors with information "adverse to Lottery officials and which supported evidence of the Lottery's mismanagement and improper administration of Lottery funds."

State has no comment
Holly Oughton, press secretary for the Revenue Department, said, "We have just received a copy of the complaint and are reviewing it."

The department has 30 days in which to respond to the suit or a default judgment may be entered against it.

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