10/19/2012 3:15PM

Investigation centers on Minnesota Racing Commission assistant executive director


SHAKOPEE, Minn. – Additional information has emerged on the investigation by the state into Minnesota Racing Commission assistant executive director Mary Manney.

Manney was placed on paid administrative leave Sept. 7 pending an investigation for alleged insubordination. According to her attorney, Sheila Englemeier, Manney on Oct. 4 filed a formal complaint of sex discrimination against commission chairman Jesse Overton.

Overton said the complaint is without merit.

“I look forward to responding at the appropriate time,” Overton said. “I have every confidence that I will have the opportunity to speak to – and the public deserves to know – the facts surrounding this case.”

Overton declined to comment on the reason for the insubordination investigation.

* Canterbury Park applied for 2013 racing dates at the Minnesota Racing Commission’s monthly meeting on Thursday. Canterbury wants to expand its season by 8 days to 68. Racing would begin Preakness weekend and extend through the second week of September. Due to the cooperative marketing effort signed with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, purses will rise approximately 25 percent over 2012 levels and 100 percent over 2011 levels.

The date request is expected to be addressed at the November commission meeting.

Sheila Engelmeier More than 1 year ago
Mr. Friedberg: I understand you are an outstanding criminal lawyer. And, it appears that you either represent Mr. Overton or are friends with him. I know of no criminal issues involved in this matter. If I am missing something, please educate me. I’m easily accessible; give me a call if you represent Mr. Overton. With respect to our client, Ms. Manney, and Mr. Overton’s mistreatment of her, this falls squarely within my bailiwick – employment law. I have represented both employers and employees for a long time…more than a quarter of a century. I have “manufactured” nothing. In fact, Ms. Manney complained about Mr. Overton’s exceedingly disrespectful treatment of her and other women involved with the Minnesota Racing Commission before Mr. Overton placed her on leave for unknown allegations against her. Furthermore, when Mr. Overton placed Ms. Manney on leave, he promised a “thorough and fair” investigation and in the nearly seven weeks since that note, the handling of this matter has been quite unfair. Current female racing commissioners understand what this is truly about – Overton’s mistreatment of women. See, the comments by Dr. Camille McArdle – a 19-year member of the commission - who has told the Star Tribune that Ms. Manney and Dr. Hovda, the two senior-most women at the Minnesota Racing Commission, are being treated unfairly. The Star Tribune appropriately noted Commissioner McArdle’s credibility, as a racing commissioner for 19 years, who also is a veterinarian. In discussing the mistreatment of my client (Mary Manney) and Dr. Hovda, Commissioner McArdle noted "I don't feel good about what's happening. I don't feel good about the way that it's been handled. And the fact that they're both strong women who've done a good job and are suddenly finding themselves on the defensive also bothers me." Other current and/or former female commissioners agree. The bottom line is that your statement that Ms. Manney’s gender claims are “specious” does not comport with the facts. Neither do your guesses about what I know or do not know. Ms. Manney is the victim of discrimination and both she and her legal team can only hope that the State of Minnesota puts a stop to it. Sheila Engelmeier, Esq.
Joseph Friedberg More than 1 year ago
The shame of this matter is that Ms. Manney was placed on leave for insubordination and Chairman Overton is not permitted to comment. Her lawyer, who knows nothing about the complaint because it is privacy protected until the investigation is completed decided to manufacture a specious complaint against Mr. Overton when everybody in Minnesota knows that the last thing he is is a discriminator against women. This lawyer also knows that as a public official he can't comment on her specious complaint. Joseph S. Friedberg