NYRA board suggestions

By Lombardo David
Saturday, June 23, 2012

The state Legislature has authorized a new reorganization board to lead the New York Racing Association, but its composition remains a mystery.

Gary Greenberg, a minority owner of Vernon Downs who is familiar with statewide gambling issues and predicted the details of the state takeover, came up with an extensive list of names he thought would be appropriate, including retiring Assemblyman Bob Reilly, D-Colonie, and Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson. His list also includes representatives from most racing, breeding and gambling organizations in the state.

"I think the appointments will be non-political," Greenberg added. "The more likely names ... have a connection to racing."

Reilly and Johnson were surprised to hear their names suggested as possible members, but both expressed interest in serving.

"I might be interested in that, but I would have to look at it," Reilly said, noting his efforts with the state's Off-Track Betting corporations, work on racing and agriculture committees and proximity to Saratoga Springs.

Regarding a seat on the new board, he added, "I'm not pursuing it"

Johnson called the suggestion of his name "unusual," but added that he has been a strong advocate for racing and as a longtime resident of the city has an interest in serving.

He did stress that it was "critical" to have a representative from the Saratoga region on the new board because the historic course needs a "vocal presence" to ensure its tradition is preserved. Johnson said the current board members from Saratoga Springs have served as good advocates.

Below are names suggested by Greenberg, who noted that some could be eligible candidates for anyone making an appointment. Under the reorganization legislation, the governor appoints eight members, each legislative leader appoints two, NYRA appoints five and the New York Thoroughbred Breeders and the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association have non-voting representation.

From Gov. Andrew Cuomo: Former Lt. Gov. Stan Lundine, former Chief Judge Judith Kaye, Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings, Business Council of New York President & CEO Heather Briccetti, real estate executive and racino operator Jeff Gural, former Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi, former Gov. Mario Cuomo, Buffalo Mayor Bill Brown, horse owner Mike Repole, former judge Stephen Gerling, Pittsburgh Steelers and Yonkers Raceway owner Tim Rooney, former state Secretary of State Gail Shaffer, former state Inspector General Joseph Fisch, former state Inspector General Joseph Spinelli, former Congressman Tom Downey, former Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano, New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, former Cuomo advisor Steve Cohen, retired jockey Angel Cordero, Cuomo advisor Howard Glaser, former New York City OTB Chairman Meyer Frucher

From NYRA: Philanthropist John Hendrickson, former state Sen. Howard Nolan Jr., racing announcer Tom Durkin, Capital OTB's John Signor, Adirondack Trust's Charles Wait, Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson, trainer D. Wayne Luka, attorney Barry Ostrager, horse veterinarian Jerry Bilinski, Catskill OTB's Don Groth.

From state Senate Majority Leader Dean Spanos: Former state Lottery Director Jeff Perlee, former state Sen. Raymond Meier, former Republican Comptroller candidate Harry Wilson, former state Racing and Wagering Board Chairman Mike Hoblock

From Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver: Assemblyman Bob Reilly, D-Colonie, former Silver aide Steve Bochnak, former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, New York State Sire Stakes Executive Director Tim Gordon, New York State Thoroughbred Breeding & Development Fund Executive Director Tracy Egan, Albany County Comptroller Michael Connors.

Ex-officio members: New York Thoroughbred Breeders Executive Director Jeffrey Cannizzo, New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association Inc. President Rick Violette Jr.

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