05/22/2012 4:54PM

Dutrow attorney has day in court

Barbara D. Livingston
Richard Dutrow Jr. is taking legal action to avoid a ban set down by New York officials.

ALBANY, N.Y. – The attorney for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. argued Tuesday in court that the New York State Racing and Wagering Board’s case against his client is tainted by an “indefensible conflict of interest” on the part of board chairman John Sabini and that the organization’s ruling to revoke the trainer’s license for 10 years should be dismissed.

Michael Koenig, the attorney representing Dutrow, argued that Sabini’s dual role as chairman of the state racing and wagering board and secretary-treasurer for the Racing Commissioners International created an appearance of impropriety that resulted in a violation of Dutrow’s right to due process.

“What one of Mr. Sabini’s boards was actively advocating for, his other organization controlled and decided,” Koenig argued.

Koenig made his arguments before a five-judge panel that make up the state’s Supreme Court Appellate Division, Third Department, an intermediate-level appellate court. The panel consists of judges Leslie Stein, Robert Rose, Thomas Mercure, John Lahtinen, and William McCarthy.

Kathleen Arnold, an attorney from New York State’s Attorney General’s office, argued the case for the state. Arnold said there is no evidence that Sabini called for the hearing looking into Dutrow’s license. Further, she said, Sabini did not get involved in the case until “the record of evidence was before him.”

A decision in the case is not expected for four to eight weeks. Dutrow did not attend Tuesday’s hearing.

In February 2011, Dutrow was suspended 90 days by the board for two violations that occurred in November 2010. First, one of his horses tested positive for a banned substance. Second, three syringes filled with the drug xylazine were found in the desk drawer of Dutrow’s Aqueduct office.

Dutrow appealed those suspensions on Feb. 16. The following day, Ed Martin, executive director of the RCI, made public a letter asking the New York racing board to hold a show-cause hearing to review whether Dutrow should have his trainer’s license revoked because of a history of repeated rules violations.

According to Koenig, Sabini was forwarded an e-mail that originated from staffers of U.S. Sen. Tom Udall to the RCI questioning whether the 90-day suspension handed Dutrow was too light.

On March 2, the New York racing board announced it would hold a show-cause hearing, which took place over three days last May and June in Schenectady. In October, following the filing of a written report from hearing officer Clem Parente, the three-panel board – including Sabini _ voted unanimously to suspend Dutrow’s license for 10 years while also fining him $50,000.

By that time, Sabini had been elected chairman of the RCI.

Koenig argued that the “mere appearance of impropriety is enough to find a due process violation” and get the penalties dismissed.

“This case is centered on the appearance of impropriety, and we made every point related to it today,” Koenig said after Tuesday’s hearing.

Koenig further said that “a due process violation renders everything else irrelevant.”

Koenig did say in court that if the judge’s do find there was a taint of due process” all that’s left is the 90-day suspension from the two violations. He hinted that Dutrow would serve those days “as an alternative remedy.”

Each attorney had 10 minutes to argue their case. Briefs in the matter had been filed two weeks ago.

The judges had the opportunity to question the attorneys on their arguments, but very few were asked.

Judge McCarthy asked Koenig if the racing board could bring the charges against Dutrow again if the court sided with the trainer. Koenig said that it would require a whole new panel, a new hearing officer and new board members.

During her time, Arnold said “there is no need for a new hearing because there was no impropriety” and that Dutrow was afforded his “full due process rights.”

Ed Erdody More than 1 year ago
Before all this stone throwing take a look at Steve Asmussen's Medication Violations...
Kristen Neiding More than 1 year ago
Not saying Asmussen is any better. Horses should be running on Hay, Oats, and Water... and in the US, Lasix is acceptable. No drugs, no steroids. ANYONE who breaks the rules should be punished. People who repeatedly break the rules should be punished worse.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
people should also have the right to due process not DICTATORSHIP!!!!
Kristen Neiding More than 1 year ago
He is getting due process. He had his case with the racing board and now he's in the New York court. No one said he should just be taken out back and shot. What a non-responsive argument.
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
go have urself a nice big glass of hateorade ok!!
Kristen Neiding More than 1 year ago
Another strong argument from Ted.
Ian Broomfield More than 1 year ago
How about when he was under suspension a couple of years ago, he was denied privileges of the grounds at Saratoga and yet was seen sitting on the deck of his owners right beside the track training from there. He was caught and even tho he was on private property he was fluanting his suspension to all. He keeps getting in trouble no matter how hard the comission try to work with him so he is now getting his just deserts. How stupid can you be with his record to have 3 syringes in your desk drawer and get caught then demand due process. All NYRA tracks need to do is give him a TRESPASS order and he can't come on their properties.
Ian Broomfield More than 1 year ago
http://www.thoroughbredrulings.com/iagree.asp You can go here and see every trainers rulings and the outcome of those rulings for future reference if need be
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
Great trainer who won the KD one of the hardest races to win in the world!! Great argument by a great lawyer!! GREAT!!! hope u win Ric and teach these HATERS a lesson!!!!!
Kristen Neiding More than 1 year ago
Conflict of interest and due process... it's a good legal argument. Unfortunately, it masks the fact that they have absolutely no defense based on the facts... He got suspended for being a sleezeball, and he has no defense because he is, indeed, a sleezeball. So they have to find some issue to divert attention... enter the due process argument. And it is a depressing fact that all too often, decisions come down to these crafty legal arguments.
mike Infurna More than 1 year ago
The man has admittedly abused drugs and alcohol. if he did this to himself, could any reasonable person assume he would not drug a horse? Common sense.
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Gerald Sabo More than 1 year ago
Lynn, do you think they should just sweep under the rug all his medication violations?
JOE More than 1 year ago
Dutrow will just past the baton remember when the trainor Jeff MULLINS came on tvg and stated that anybody who bets on racing is crazy well he ment it because he knows whats going on.
B More than 1 year ago
This man should not be allowed to have a license.
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JOE More than 1 year ago
they all use the needles its timed perfectly so by the time the horse gets to the recievien barn its out of thier system they hope.you want to play than you have to pay.
JOE More than 1 year ago
there is so much money at stake
Gerald Sabo More than 1 year ago
They don't ALL use needles Joe but there are quite a few that do, and Dutrow has been caught multiple times. I keep saying, Poster Child for drugs in racing.
ronald menard More than 1 year ago
next one should be O" Neill ,this has to stop there are running racing into the ground
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
Kingsley Rose More than 1 year ago
this is gambling what else u all expect