07/10/2001 11:00PM

Schickedanz gets license


TORONTO, Ontario - The Ontario Racing Commission has set aside an order from its executive director that owner Bruno Schickedanz's license be revoked. The commission directed that Schickedanz be issued a probationary owner's license.

In a written decision released late Tuesday, an ORC panel went against the recommendation of executive director Jean Major, who in December served notice of a proposed order to revoke Schickedanz's owner's license. The panel, which heard Schickedanz's appeal of the proposed order, ruled that Schickedanz's probationary license be renewed annually until the end of 2003 "if there are no further violations by Mr. Schickedanz of any of the applicable statutory provisions of the Rules of Racing."

As a condition of issuing a probationary license, the panel also required Schickedanz to donate $100,000 to the Avelino Gomez Memorial Foundation, which provides financial assistance to racing people in difficult circumstances.

Schickedanz said Wednesday that he wished to reserve comment until he had a chance to discuss the decision with legal counsel.

The ORC decision followed an appeal hearing that began March 22, continued May 14 through May 16, and wound up June 21.

Major's proposed order to revoke Schickedanz's owner's license was based upon a section of the Racing Commission Act that grants the director the power to refuse to issue or renew a license application if "there are reasonable grounds to believe that, while the applicant carries out activities for which the license is required, the applicant will not act in accordance with law, or with integrity, honesty or in the public interest, having regard to the past conduct of the applicant. . ."

A real estate company owned by Schickedanz had been convicted of fraud in a Brantford, Ontario, court last October, but there was no personal finding against Schickedanz in the case, which had no connection to his racing operation.

The ORC panel addressed the issue of whether there were any reasonable grounds to believe Schickedanz would not carry out his racing activities in a lawful or honest manner.

It noted that the fraud in question had taken place between 1991 and 1996, although it was not discovered until 1998-1999.

"In all that time, there is no evidence that Schickedanz participated in any fraudulent activity whatsoever in the racing industry," wrote Stanley Sadinzky, Q.C. chair of the commission, in explaining the reasons for the decision.

"Ordinarily, in a case such as this, revocation of a license for a fixed period of time would be the appropriate penalty.

"However, in this case, it serves no useful purpose except to demonstrate the importance of making it abundantly clear that all those who participate in horse racing are expected to be persons of honesty, integrity and good character. This is a fundamental principle which we strongly endorse, but we have concluded that a different sanction is required and appropriate in the circumstances of this case."