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Head of Pa.'s gaming board to resign

HARRISBURG - The executive director of the state's embattled Gaming Control Board announced yesterday that she is resigning from her $180,000-a-year post next week.

HARRISBURG - The executive director of the state's embattled Gaming Control Board announced yesterday that she is resigning from her $180,000-a-year post next week.

But under a provision in her contract, Anne LaCour Neeb will continue to be paid until her contract officially expires in September.

Neeb announced she will be stepping down at yesterday's Gaming Control Board meeting, citing "personal and family" reasons.

Although Neeb's resignation takes effect June 6, the terms of her contract require the agency to pay her until September, said gaming board chairwoman Mary DiGiacomo Colins.

During that time, Neeb will be available to the board as a consultant, Colins said.

"And we'll be needing her, believe me," she added. "We're very happy with Anne's performance, we're very happy with Anne, and we want her to have the best . . . and we want her to have all the positive benefits."

The Gaming Control Board would not immediately provide a copy of Neeb's contract, or the portion of it that specifies why she should get paid for the months she is not officially on staff.

The board is funded by gaming revenue proceeds, which also fund property-tax reductions throughout the state.

Neeb would not say yesterday what led to her decision to resign. She simply told the board: "I need to direct my attention to some family matters that need to be taken care of."

She added: "I am very happy and very proud of the accomplishments of this agency."

Neeb told reporters yesterday that she has no immediate plans for the future.

Frank T. Donaghue, the board's chief counsel, will serve as acting executive director until the board finds a permanent replacement. The board will conduct a national search for a new director.

Neeb came to Pennsylvania in September 2005 from Louisiana's gambling control board, which she headed. Soon after she arrived, a controversy erupted there: Louisiana's inspector general issued a report asking Neeb to refund $2,700 for 57 hours that it said she did not work. The report said the investigation of Neeb was prompted by a complaint that Neeb had stopped showing up for work.

At the time, Neeb said the report was an effort by some Louisiana officials to impugn her reputation because she had alerted the FBI about concerns she had over the awarding of three gambling licences.

Prosecutors there later declined to pursue the case.

During Neeb's tenure in Pennsylvania, the board has drawn criticism from lawmakers and others about how it issued licenses for slots parlors.

One of the licensees the board approved in 2006 - Scranton businessman Louis A. DeNaples - was charged earlier this year with perjury for allegedly lying to state gaming investigators as he was pursuing a license for his Mount Airy Casino Resort.

DeNaples is fighting the charges.

State Rep. Douglas Reichley (R., Lehigh), one of the legislature's most outspoken critics of the gaming board, yesterday said he welcomed the news of Neeb's departure.

"I hope the board sees this as opportunity to turn the page and embark on a nationwide search for someone with the right background to clean things up," Reichley said.