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Barry Jerrels, chairman of the Citizens for Lottery Video Terminal Initiative of 2006, said this afternoon that his group won’t be turning in the thousands of signatures collected in recent weeks to put a proposal to allow slot machines in Anacostia before voters.

Jerrels said his group, bankrolled by mysterious Virgin Islands businessman Shawn Scott, “won’t be submitting petitions today,” the deadline to get the proposal on the November general-election ballot.

The controversy surrounding the collection of the petitions has convinced the organizers that “It is best to take a pause and deal more with the project,” Jerrels says.

Jerrels claimed that the group’s employees, many of which came from out of state, collected more than enough valid signatures: “We have over 20,000 valid signatures with a very good number from Ward 8.”

Jerrels said the group is considering submitting the petitions at a later date for inclusion on a future ballot.