Illinois taxpayers pay millions in bonuses to lottery staff

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois taxpayers have funded about $2 million in “retention” bonuses for employees of a private firm managing the lottery despite the firm performing so badly that the state is working to replace it. The Chicago Tribune reports the state approved paying bonuses as part of a complex deal it made in 2015 with the firm, Northstar Lottery Group. The company agreed to end its decade-long deal early if the state met a host of conditions, including paying the firm “disentanglement” fees that included the bonuses. Records show the company offered an unspecified number of employees 30 to 50 percent of their base pay as a bonus for continuing to work through set periods. The bonus increased to 60 percent of base pay for those who continued to work the first half of 2017.