12/26/2014 1:43PM

Finley: NYTHA election appeals process flawed


In a letter sent to the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association through his attorney, Terry Finley is objecting to the process being used to hear his appeal of his narrow loss to Rick Violette earlier this month in the election for president of the horsemen's group.

Finley, founder and president of the West Point Thoroughbreds ownership group, lost by 625-611 to Violette, a trainer who was elected to a third term as NYTHA president. Finley has taken issue with the distribution of ballots to eligible members, claiming not all eligible members received ballots or were sent them in a timely manner.

On Dec. 17, nine days after Finley filed his appeal, NYTHA’s board laid out a four-step process by which Finley’s appeal would be heard. By Jan. 5, Finley is required to submit a comprehensive and detailed written statement specifically describing his objections to the election, with all supporting evidence, such as documents and affidavits.

Finley, who is seeking a new election be held, objects to the fact the NYTHA board is running the process, calling it a conflict of interest. Secondly, Finley objects to attorney Bryan Cave representing NYTHA in the appeal, claiming Cave was “intimately involved in the election process” that is being protested.

Third, Finley is protesting limitations placed on him that allow him to only submit a written objection, but does not allow him to review membership rosters, call witnesses or attend the appeal hearing. Finley, or other parties, would only be allowed to testify if the board members hearing the appeal deem it necessary.

Finally, Finley objects to the closed-door nature of the process. NYTHA, in its release outlining the appeal process, said that none of the board’s “discussions, communications or deliberations are to be disclosed to Finley, to any of the interested parties, or to the public in general.”

In a letter sent to the firm representing NYTHA, Finley’s co-counsel Chris Green wrote, “There is absolutely no reason why the protest process should take place in secret, and there are many good reasons why it should be open to NYTHA members.”