An audit by the law firm Zashin & Rich found that Pat McDonald’s conduct violated the Ohio State Lottery Commission’s policy against inappropriate workplace conduct.
COLUMBUS, OH – sudden resignation last month of the director of the Ohio State Lottery came after he inappropriately touched two employees and sent his employees text messages that “expressed inappropriate friendliness and innuendo,” according to an independent investigation released Friday.
An audit by the law firm of Zashin & Rich found that Pat McDonald’s conduct violated the Ohio State Lottery Commission’s policy against inappropriate workplace conduct.
The firm, which was brought in by Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, also found that an assistant director of the McDonald’s lottery knew about his inappropriate behavior but failed to take action. The assistant director will be removed from management and transferred to another state agency with a lower job classification and pay, the state human resources department said.
DeWine’s chief of staff and general counsel traveled to Cleveland on April 11 to meet with McDonald about the misconduct the subordinate alleged — which he “vehemently denied” — when he told them he had a “significant medical condition” and was considering leaving. pension, the report says. MacDonald left his job the next morning, barring further disciplinary action or a review, according to the report.
MacDonald has been involved with the Ohio Lottery for 16 years, first serving as a member and longtime chairman of the Ohio Lottery Commission before DeWine appointed him director in 2019.
The series of events that led to his resignation began in late February when a lottery employee reported that McDonald had been touching and hugging them in a way that made the employee uncomfortable. McDonald was told by the HR director that his behavior was inappropriate and he apologized. The employee told the human resources department that he was “satisfied that the conduct had been resolved and would not continue,” according to the report.
On April 6, the employee called to report another violation. The lottery’s human resources director held a meeting with McDonald on April 10, after which the governor’s office was informed of “potential policy violations,” investigators found.
The review ultimately found that McDonald inappropriately touched two employees on the arms, shoulders and forehead, gave unwanted hugs, sent two employees text messages that “expressed inappropriate affection and innuendo” and made “verbal comments about the appearance of two employees.”
The governor appointed Michelle Gillchrist, his former aerospace and defense representative and Northeast Ohio regional representative, to fill McDonald’s role on an interim basis.
Zashin & Rich recommended mandatory training for all Lottery employees on appropriate workplace conduct and the agency’s policy prohibiting conduct at work that may be abusive, harassing or retaliatory. They also called on the administration to immediately alert the lottery’s assistant director and all members of management of their duty to report violations.