08/17/2005 12:00AM

House subcommittee says Jockey's Guild is uncooperative


The Jockeys' Guild has not complied with repeated requests to provide documents to the U.S. House Subcommittee of Oversight and Investigations, according to two letters sent by the chairman of the subcommittee, Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, to the guild's chief executive officer on Wednesday.

The letters, which are both addressed to the guild's president, Wayne Gertmenian, state that the "Guild's production of relevant documents and information has been inadequate" and threatens to subpoena the guild if the documents are not provided to the subcommittee by Aug. 31. The subcommittee had initially requested dozens of documents from the guild in a letter dated April 20.

The letters were provided by Whitfield's office on Wednesday. Whitfield, whose wife, Connie, is the vice chairwoman of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, began an investigation into the guild and the issue of jockey insurance earlier this year in response to complaints from riders and because of articles that raised questions about Gertmenian's qualifications and the guild's finances.

Lloyd Ownbey, the legal counsel for the guild, said Wednesday that he disputed many of the characterizations in the letter, and called the subcommittee's investigation a "witch hunt."

"The ultimate goal of this is to get Dr. Gertmenian, because he's too strong for them," Ownbey said. "They want to have a guild that will roll over and do what they tell them to do."

But Ownbey said that the guild "would have a response by Aug. 31. I just don't know what that response will be."

The letters allege eight areas in which the guild has not cooperated with the subcommittee's investigation, which has included trips by members of Whitfield's staff to the guild's offices in Monrovia, Calif. Those areas include a list of all contractors that do business with the guild; a description of the services provided by Gertmenian and his consulting company, Matrix Capital Associates, in exchange for Gertmenian's $175,000 annual salary and a $400,000 consulting fee paid to Matrix; and records related to the guild's decision to not renew a catastrophic-insurance policy in 2002 that covered jockeys for up to $1 million in medical bills.