NYRA: A History of Ignoring The Issues

Yet another chapter in the history books for NYRA; last week the recently promoted racing secretary Matt Salvato was escorted from Aqueduct by security. As of this writing 8 days later, still no comments regarding this issue have been provided by Chris Kay.

NYRA has a very checkered past of corruption; back in 2003, the NY Attorney General’s office released a 64 page report of the illegal practices ongoing at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga. At that time NYRA was handling roughly $3 billion dollars a year in bets. This report was the result of a 3-year investigation. AG Elliott Spitzer was quoted saying, “What’s appalling about the N.Y.R.A. is that repeated and overwhelming evidence of criminal conduct did not spur this management to fundamentally change its behavior.” Terry Meyocks was the President & COO at this time. He never responded to the findings within that report.

In September of 2000, NY state police went through the cash boxes of tellers at Belmont, finding that 17 of the 227 boxes contained papers that appeared to be loansharking or bookmaking records. 4 tellers ended up getting arrested for money laundering. Edward Martin was the President of the NYS Racing & Wagering Board at the time. He was quoted saying, ”We had noticed betting among tellers, we had noticed tellers removing cash from drawers, we noticed suspicious activity that we believed could have been money laundering.”

“In some cases, it was very difficult to get the issues that were being brought to their attention dealt with,” Martin added. The pattern of avoiding issues hasn’t improved through the years.

In 2005 the then-state Comptroller Alan Hevesi called NYRA “the poster child for mismanagement and corruption” after his office found that NYRA had given an $800,000 no-bid contract to the CEO’s daughter and son-in-law and a $1.6 million contract to a public-relations firm in Albany. NYRA also paid its president’s country-club dues. Despite handling  $2.5 billion a year in bets, NYRA declared bankruptcy in 2006. In 2012 Charles Hayward was fired when NYRA was found to be taking more than it’s share of wagering dollars.

True to their past performances, they are 1/5 to just ignore the next issue as well.


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