02/28/2006 12:00AM

Short of cash, guild raises members' dues per mount

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The board of directors of the Jockeys' Guild approved a 33 percent increase in member dues, from $3 per mount to $4 per mount, during the organization's annual meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, the chief legal counsel to the guild said late on Tuesday.

The increase in mount fees was one of three measures approved by the board to address ongoing cash shortages, according to the legal counsel, Barry Broad. The board also approved what Broad called a "temporary" reduction in the weekly disability payments provided to disabled riders, from $200 to $100, and approved a measure that will require all members who are in arrears on dues payments to either pay up or be expelled, Broad said.

"We're operating day to day right now," Broad said. "The guild's income right now - I wouldn't call it cyclical, but variable, and we need to get this organization back on solid financial footing."

The annual meeting, held Monday and Tuesday, was the first since the guild's board ousted the organization's former chief executive officer, L. Wayne Gertmenian, and his management company, Matrix Capital Associates, in November. Gertmenian had been criticized by many guild members for misrepresenting his qualifications, failing to inform guild members about the organization's benefits and strategy, and leading the guild into financial straits.

Broad said that the guild filed a lawsuit against Gertmenian on Monday in California civil court, alleging that Gertmenian misappropriated guild funds and "breached his fiduciary duty" to guild members. Gertmenian and Matrix received payments in excess of $2 million during Gertmenian's 4 1/2-year tenure at the guild.

Also at the meeting, the guild's board of directors changed the organization's bylaws to allow for national elections of a new senate by July 1, Broad said. Under the change, the guild's members will be divided into three geographical regions, East, Central, and West, and each region will be allowed to elect nine members to the senate. The elected senators will then pick a nine-member board of directors, Broad said.