On June 12, 2015 California Governor Jerry Brown appointed his Chief Deputy Press Secretary, Jim Evans to head up the California Gambling Control Commission. Evans has served as chief deputy press secretary in the Office of Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. since 2013. He was a consultant in the California State Senate Office of Research in 2013 and served as deputy secretary for communications and strategic planning at the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency in 2012.
Evans was a consultant in the Office of California State Senator Mark DeSaulnier from 2009 to 2012 and served as communications director in the Office of California State Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg from 2006 to 2009 and in the Office of California State Senator Joe Dunn from 2005 to 2006. He was a staff writer at the Sacramento Bee from 2003 to 2004, managing editor at the California Journal from 2002 to 2003 and a staff writer at the Sacramento News and Review from 2001 to 2002 and at the Industry Standard from 1998 to 2001. Evans is a Democrat.
The five-member gambling control commission oversees licensing of the $10 billion California gambling industry including tribal casinos and card rooms.
In a previous version of this article we mistakenly named former California Gambling Control Commission (CGCC) Executive Director, Tina Littleton as a commission member. As a staff member, Ms. Littleton did not vote on regular commission business.
We also reported that she resigned her position due to conflicts of interest in the Casino M8trix profit skimming case. This assertion has not been proven. The Director’s publicly stated reason for leaving her position of four years was that she was “ready to pursue other opportunities.”
We did not report that at the time of her announcement Ms. Littleton was domiciled with former California Department of Justice bureau special agent-in-charge James Parker. Mr. Parker “may or may not be the special agent-in-charge as noted in [an] accusation against Robert Lytle.”
Robert Lytle is the former chief enforcement officer for the California Bureau of Gambling Control (BGC) who went to work as a compliance officer for Casino M8trix in San Diego just days after leaving his government position in 2007.
Lytle has been accused by the BGC of violating several gaming regulations while employed as compliance officer for Casino M8Trix. California Attorney General Kamala Harris also filed a complaint, but no criminal charges, against Lytle in December.
Owners of M8trix have been accused of skimming profits by listing disbursements to themselves as expenses rather than distributions to owners. This move, if proven, circumvented taxation on the income and withheld other revenues due.
No official statements from the CGCC will be forthcoming according to a brief received from them today. “…Commissioners and Commission staff are legally prohibited from talking about details or providing information that would taint this pending case or interfere with Mr. Lytle’s due process rights.”
An administrative law judge will hear the complaint before it is returned to the Gambling Control Commission for a final ruling. AG Harris accuses Lytle of receiving confidential information on the Casino M8trix investigation from a bureau special agent-in-charge.
Ms. Littleton did not actually leave the commission on May 31 but took another lower level position within the commission.
On another issue, we reported that former Chairman Richard Lopes resigned when in fact he retired. Mr. Lopes told a local San Diego news outlet that he had reached the minimum retirement age of 50 and was “…eagerly looking forward to the next chapter in [his] life.”
In March of this year, along with then Executive Director Littleton, Chairman Lopes recused himself from dealing with any matters involving Lytle.
“Since the alleged misconduct occurred during the short period of time when Mr. Lytle reported directly to me, it is for that reason and that reason alone that I believe the course of action is to recuse myself from these proceedings,” Lopes said.