06/07/2017 12:46PM

NYRA reconstitutes it board

Barbara D. Livingston
Rick Violette, the president of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, is a NYRA board member.

The New York Racing Association on Wednesday announced 16 of the members of its newly reconstituted 17-seat board, including two representatives of state’s horsemen’s organizations who will have voting rights on the board for the first time in five years.

The new board will consist of 17 members with equal voting rights, replacing a 17-member board put in place in 2012 that also gave two additional, non-voting seats to representatives of the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association and the New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc. Those organizations now will each have a seat with voting rights.

The new board was reconstituted under a provision of the state budget approved earlier this year that restored NYRA’s control over the majority of the appointments to its board. Five years ago, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, citing dissatisfaction with NYRA’s management, pushed through a plan awarding the majority of appointments to the state. At the time, Cuomo was in discussions with gambling companies and real-estate developers over an expansion of casinos in the state. The state owns the deeds to NYRA’s three tracks.

All of the members of the new board have been members of the NYRA board in the past. However, Leonard Riggio, a longtime NYRA board member and Thoroughbred owner and breeder, and Robert Megna, a government official with ties to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, were not re-appointed. Both Riggio and Megna were appointees of Gov. Cuomo, whose number of appointments were reduced from eight to two in the 2017 budget provision.

The seat reserved for the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association will be filled by the organization’s longtime president, Richard Violette Jr., who has been a vocal spokesperson for the interests of horsemen on the board, despite being unable to vote over the past five years. Jeffrey Cannizzo, the executive director of New York Thoroughbred Breeders Inc., will fill the seat for that organization.

NYRA’s appointments to the new board are C. Steven Duncker, Robert Flay, Marc Holliday, Stuart Janney, Timothy Mara, Andrew Rosen, Joseph Spinelli, and Stuart Subotnick, according to NYRA. Chris Kay, NYRA’s chief executive, will fill a ninth spot reserved for NYRA’s top official.

Gov. Cuomo’s two appointments are Michael Del Giudice, who will serve as chairman, and Vincent Tese. The two appointments reserved for the State Senate are Earle Mack and Micheal Dubb, while the New York Assembly has reappointed Georgeanna Nugent. The Assembly’s final spot is pending, NYRA said.

A previous version of this story and its headline incorrectly suggested that Violette and Cannizzo replaced Riggio and Megna on the board. Riggio and Megna werre not reappointed to the board, while Violette and Cannizzo were installed as representatives of their organizations as mandated by a budget provision approved earlier this year.

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