Maintaining Optimism in the Face of Reality. Occasional observations on the state of the world, society, business and politics. Usually anchored by facts, always augmented by opinion.

Kinda Makes You Wonder  | e-mail post

Last year, the then-head of the Minnesota Lottery, George Anderson, committed suicide shortly before a probe of the lottery's finances and operations was the be released. At the time, I thought this was pretty unusual. It's one thing for there to be some kind of misfeasance or malfeasance, and entirely another when a public official kills themselves before the report's release.

Well, it seems the lottery has taken another life, or, more accurately, another individual under scrutiny took his own life. The Business Journal reported last Friday on Michael Priesnitz being found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Priesnitz was the founder of Media Rare, a St. Paul advertising-ish

While there is some discussion of poor health in this Star Tribune report, it seems unlikely to me that the suicide would be driven by a person in their mid-50s having a heart attack. Conventional wisdom might suggest that such an event might be more likely to give someone more of a zest for life. It seems more probable that the timing of the suicide could be a result of the lottery investigation getting turned over to Ramsey County attorneys, and, potentially, the impact Priesnitz might have felt from the current owners of Media Rare, who seem to have purchased MR in some sort of earnout arrangement. Given that the lottery was MR's biggest client (and seems to have had the late commissioner Anderson intervene on their behalf regularly), Priesnitz may have felt he wasn't up to the task of explaining things, paying back ill-gotten gains or maybe even spending some time in the clink (which seems unlikely).

All I can say is that I am curious to see the final report of the lottery probe.

Star-Tribune - "A Second Death Among Lottery Probe Subjects"
e-mail post | Link Cosmos | [Permalink]  |  | Monday, May 02, 2005
Craxy that they'd kill themselves rather than be investigated.
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