10/01/2012 4:01PM

Cuomo signs legislation establishing New York Racing Association Reorganization Board

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Monday that will establish the New York Racing Association Reorganization Board, essentially dissolving the current NYRA board of directors and placing the association under temporary public control.

According to a press release issued by the governor’s office, the NYRA Reorganization Board will go into effect when a majority of the current public directors are appointed. The release did not specify when that would happen, saying only that the new board would be announced “in the near future.”

The NYRA Reorganization Board will consist of 17 directors and a chairman. Cuomo will appoint seven directors and nominate a chairman for the board to approve. The Senate and Assembly will appoint two directors each, and five directors will be selected by the current NYRA board. Breeders and horsemen will each have an ex-officio member.

The current NYRA board is 25 directors, with 14 elected by NYRA and 11 appointed by the government.

The Board will be in effect for three years to restructure and reorganize NYRA, following which NYRA will revert back to majority private control, according to the release.

Once appointed, the new board will conduct a national search for a new chief executive officer and general counsel.

In May, NYRA CEO Charles Hayward and General Counsel Patrick Keogh were fired as a result of NYRA overcharging bettors a takeout rate 1 percent higher than allowed by law in certain wagers, resulting in $8.5 million being withheld from bettors.

“New York State’s racing industry is a major economic driver in the state, supporting thousands of jobs and attracting tourists from around the world,” Cuomo said in a release. “New York taxpayers and the betting public deserve a racing industry that is managed competently and does not neglect the health and safety of the horses. The NYRA Reorganization Board will restore public trust, accountability, and transparency to the racing industry in our state, so New York can continue to offer one of the most exciting, enjoyable, safe horse racing experiences in the nation.”