05/01/2012 4:46PM

Suspensions leave NYRA's upper management in limbo

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Only six months ago, the future of the New York Racing Association seemed bright. Revenues from the operation of a casino at Aqueduct promised to put an end to the association’s stubborn financial problems and boost purses to levels that would solidify New York’s position as the best racing circuit in the U.S.

But despite that success, a handful of other developments have darkened NYRA’s prospects, including the suspension on Monday of Charles Hayward, the association’s president since 2004, and Patrick Kehoe, NYRA’s legal counsel since 2002.

Both officials were named in a report by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board that challenged claims that association officials were not aware that they had applied the wrong takeout rate to wagers for a period of 15 months in 2010 and 2011. The report was issued on Monday morning, and by late on Monday afternoon, NYRA’s board had issued the suspensions.

The suspensions have led to disarray at NYRA. Officials on Tuesday said they would not comment on the association’s plans beyond a statement released by the board on Monday night that NYRA would cooperate with the state’s inquiry. Steven Duncker, the association’s chairman, did not return phone calls.

With the suspensions in place, the highest-ranking management official at NYRA is Ellen McClain, the company’s chief operating officer. Although she has a strong reputation at NYRA and among state regulators for her financial expertise, she was a newcomer to the racing industry when she was hired as NYRA’s chief financial officer in 2009.

The release of the report came after a troubling winter for the association despite double-digit gains in handle. Most prominently, 23 horses broke down at Aqueduct, leading Governor Andrew Cuomo to call for the formation of a task force to investigate the deaths and drawing unforgiving attention from the media.

After the release of the report Monday, Cuomo said that he has asked the state’s inspector general to investigate the accusations in the report and whether any state laws might have been broken during the 15-month period when the association’s takeout rate for some exotic wagers was at 26 percent while the law limited the rate to 25 percent.

The inspector general’s office reported Tuesday that the agency could not confirm or deny whether it had started an investigation. The agency cannot by itself pursue criminal charges, but it can forward findings of an investigation to state or federal prosecutors.

The state racing board’s report could lead to a review by the New York Racing Franchise Oversight Board of NYRA’s fitness to retain the franchise to operate Aqueduct, Belmont, and Saratoga. When the board was formed in 2008, it was given broad powers to oversee NYRA’s operations, including the ability to recommend to the state legislature that the association’s franchise be revoked. A decision to review NYRA’s fitness as the franchise holder could be further politicized, given the revenues that NYRA and its horsemen receive from the Aqueduct casino and the potential for Belmont as a future casino location.

In the meantime, Hayward’s supporters said on Tuesday that they felt that he had not acted wrongfully but had misinterpreted the law and then failed to fully explain his decision to keep the takeout at 26 percent when the error was discovered by outside auditors.

“I just feel bad for him,” said a horseman who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. “He’s really well liked by the trainers, and everyone knows him as a good guy. I hope he gets through this, but it doesn’t look good.”

[STEVEN CRIST: My statement on the NYRA takeout issue]

WARRIOR More than 1 year ago
Ellen Mcclain and financial expertise. Was not she the CFO when the illegal 1% vig overcharge occurred? If anyone in an organization should have noticed this it would not be the controller or the Chief Financial Officer. Only in a socialist state or communist junta would someone so blind be promoted to CEO of a multimillion dollar corporation. The war chant that put her there will keep her there despite what the lying media thugs report to you. Is Cuomo jr looking for a new wife? First Kennedy, then McClain- southern and northern ireland? Hieronymo is mad againe. Gracias senorita. Je ne pense pas que la morte had undone so many. What are the skimmers going to do when there is nothing left to skim at NYRA or on Wall street for that matter.
Joan More than 1 year ago
wow nyra cried poverty year and year for years as their higher ups continued to get hefty self appointed raises....If that wasn't a red flag for the state i dont know what was. The fact that it took the state this long to uncover all this screams asleep at the wheel Charlie Haywood deserves what he gets...how greedy do you have to be to feel a need to steal when you make 475k a year.
Robert Gotland More than 1 year ago
Refer to conspiredcorruption.wordpress.com bear in mind there are over two hundred lawsuits lodged against the holy than thou self governing Masonic body of Churchill Downs for this purpose these 200 lawsuits are merely floating in mid air because they are operating in a Free Enterprise Country like America as a Government unto themselves whether they do good or evil they only have to answer unto themselves their name of their game with their co=conspirators the Maryland/Canad MID Group - Maryland Jockey Club/Maryland Horse Racing Commission is to put pen to paper to their secret white collar crimes well supported by their Corporate and State crimes discussed daily on blog talk radio by owner trainer Dennis Fisher a member of the wagering public for 40 years
Robert Gotland More than 1 year ago
Please wagering public, horseman/tax payers and obviously the American/International simulcast audience review two formal sent to Thomas Meeker and Robert Evans undoubtedly cc to Frank Stronach and numerous Government Departments in 2006 which was on behalf of all public by Dennis Fisher's attorney Ms Merryl Brown http://conspiredcorruption.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/copy-of-merryls-letter-to-evans1.pdf and http://conspiredcorruption.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/meeker-letter.pdf - is this the reason why the holy than thou Thomas Meeker resigned in 2006 - but he is still acting and controlling as President behind closed doors, via Emirates.
Robert Gotland More than 1 year ago
We need to help save the NYRA wagering public, horseman, tax payers and simulcast audience from Churchill Downs United Tote ((Anthony Beck (the late Sir Graham Beck deceased July 2010) Thomas Meeker/Robert Evans Kenny Noe (Jeffery Noe) Ken Dunn etc - MID Group (Maryland Jockey Club - Joseph De Francis - Maryland Horse Racing Commission) and certain Senators Governors Mayors etc dismantling of the not for profit NYRA Charles Hayward and Patrick Kahoe are merely Churchill Downs/MID Group Masonic puppets, planted by Kenny Noe (Jeffery Noe) etc to rob the public of their hard earned monies which then will put a bad light upon the NYRA which will allow Churchill Downs/MID Group to take over the NYRA simply refer to Daily Racing Form article hrrp://www.drf.com titled as Tote (Churchill Downs - United Tote) mistake on Keeneland races costs NYRA bettors DRAW THE PICTURE IT WILL ALWAYS TELL THE TRUE STORY!
Robert Gotland More than 1 year ago
Owner/trainer Dennis Fisher/Rene Wagner on behalf of all the wagering public, horseman tax payers and American - International simulcast audience have lodged a written formal complaint with the FBI on the 30th of April 2012 requesting a Federal Indictment against the holy than thou Churchill Downs Inc - United Tote and their co-conspirators MID Group (Maryland Jockey Club Joseph De Francis and the Maryland Horse Racing Commission) for practicing a white collar crime on the 18th of April 2012 via the not for profit Keeneland Racetrack after the running of the 3rd race when they deliberately stole $424,143.60 of the hard earned wagering public, horseman/tax payers and the trustworthy American/International simulcast audience from right under their noses refer to http://conspiredcorruption.wordpress.com as factual and vital evidence. The moral to the story public how could the Superfecta a $2 bet pay $ 424,143.60 from a $52,463.00 Superfecta Pool, so lets take our eyes of the all important not for profit NYRA organizations are Federal Indict the thieves Churchill Downs - United Tote and the MID Group - Am Tote who have been stealing public hard earned monies for over two decades from the Kenny Noe a Churchill Downs shareholder private property racetracks A Supreme Court scheme which then proves that there is a Staes crimes and Corporate crimes commented against the wagering public horseman and tax payers how do they explain the illegal aliens that have been housed and employed as cheap labor at all their associated racetracks like MID Group formerly known as the Magna Group and then supplied these illegal aliens with false social security numbers, which allowed the States involved to give these illegal aliens false identification cards so that they the illegal aliens were able to cash wages earned (Churchill Downs/MID Group own private banking system) on and or from the 2nd floor of the Calder Grandstand and other well arranged facilities on and around Churchill Downs/MID Group's private property racetracks - criminal by any Court of Law as a criminal offence by the 10th degree Bear in mind there are over 200 lawsuits filed against Churchill Downs simply floating in mid air because Churchill Downs like the MID Group are allowed to operate in a Free Enterprise Country America, as Masonic self Governing Masonic bodies which makes them Government unto themselves which opens the door for white collar crimes meaning whether they Churchill Downs/MID Group do good or evil they only have to answer unto themselves wagering public.
Robert Gotland More than 1 year ago
There is more to these NYRA questionable white collar crimes cast at the not for profit NYRA than to what the human eye can see or intellect can understand. Unknown or unrealized these white collar crimes have been secretly orchestrated by the holy than thou Churchill Downs (CDI) United Tote and their co-conspirators MID Group known as Am Tote, simply to annihilate them NYRA from their secret method of secretly attaining tax free financial wealth, meaning fixing race results pre-arranging race results which allows them to secretly steal the trustworthy wagering public hard earned monies from right under their noses. Bear in mind this now extends itself to the American and International simulcast audience to date which is from their well orchestrated private property racetracks simply refer to the major eye opener Churchill Downs Incorporated web page as facts proof and evidence. The amazing fact these well disguised white collar crimes lodged against the NYRA are secretly yet well supported by Churchill Downs - United Tote and their co-conspirators MID Group - Am Tote Corporate crimes which has led to a massive State crimes. Bear in mind NYRA are a not for profit organization yet Churchill Downs/MID Group are registered NASDAQ companies looking for total control of monies wagered by the wagering public which would allow them Churchill Downs/MID Group to operate in a comfort zone which would enable them to secretly continue attaining tax free personal financial wealth from their private property racetracks which includes their OTB facilities which has been for over two decades from the start of Simulcasting in the early part of 1990 which was well presented by Thomas Meeker/Robert Evans under the hand of the late Sir Graham Beck (deceased July 2010) son Anthony Beck Kenny Noe (Jeffery Noe) Ken Dunn etc refer to Corruption in Horse Racing.com.
Robert Gotland More than 1 year ago
Churchill Downs are causing the down fall of the NYRA because they want to be the sole ownership of horse racing. And you guys really need to make this font larger
Robert Gotland More than 1 year ago
There is more to this than to what the human eye can see or intellect can understand Churchill Downs - United Tote and their co-conspirators the MID Group as Am Tote are are behind the above catastrophe simply refer to web page http://conspiredcorruption.wordpress.com . We are asking for a federal indictmane and have made an FBI complaint *- please go to our website to read the blog regarding this insident
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
I happen to have some time on my hands and I'll do twice the work for half the pay... Can I work from Gulfstream thru the winter???