01/23/2015 11:48AM

New York horsemen officials say Finley's allegations untrue

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Officials of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and its president-elect have filed responses to an appeal lodged by Terry Finley into the conduct of the association’s latest election for president, arguing that Finley’s claims are without merit.

The officials had until Jan. 16 to file the responses to Finley’s formal appeal, which was filed on Jan. 5. The responses were made public by the NYTHA on Friday morning when they were posted on its website.

Rick Violette won a third three-year term in the latest election by a vote of 625-611. Shortly after the election results were announced, Finley filed a complaint alleging that NYTHA did not maintain adequate voting records of the people who were eligible to vote and that NYTHA officials conspired with Violette to steer ballots to those who favored the incumbent.

Detailed responses to Finley’s allegations were filed by Violette; James Gallagher, the executive director of NYTHA; and Alan Foreman, the general counsel to the organization, who is also general counsel to the National Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. The New York THA is an affiliate of the National THA.

In his affidavit, Violette stated that he disputed Finley’s claims that he was involved in the distribution of endorsement letters from THA affiliates in the region. He also stated that he did not have access to the NYTHA’s mailing list for campaign purposes, as Finley alleged, and he took issue with an assertion that Finley had received significant feedback from owners and trainers who said they were prevented from voting.

“I categorically refute every claim made against me by Mr. Finley regarding my conduct during the 2014 NYTHA election,” Violette stated.

In his affidavit, Gallagher also pointedly rejected arguments by Finley that he and others in NYTHA management used the association’s mailing list to identify voters that supported Violette. “Neither I, the employees and office staff of the NYTHA, nor the committee engaged in any activity to favor or promote one candidate over another,” Gallagher stated.

Gallagher said that NYTHA urged members several times in the summer of 2014 to update their mailing addresses for the purpose of the election and e-mailed all eligible members about voting procedures on Sept. 22. The affidavit also states that the NYTHA sought to obtain accurate lists of managing partners from Equibase and the Jockey Club in the months leading up to the opening of voting. The Gallagher affidavit also contains a detailed rundown that dispute the accounts of members who told Finley that they had not received notification of the election or ballots.

Foreman provided an 80-page affidavit saying “the allegations that have been asserted against me in connection with the 2014 NYTHA election are erroneous and unfair,” before detailing objections against Finley’s accusations.

“In all respects I conducted myself in a thoroughly appropriate manner in connection with that election,” Foreman stated.

The NYTHA board is scheduled to hold a hearing regarding the appeal on Feb. 10.