IHRC Examining Allegations Involving Trust

IHRC Examining Allegations Involving Trust
Photo: Coady Photography
Indiana Downs acquired all 2013 Thoroughbred racing dates in the state, has slot machines from which revenue is derived to support racing, breeding and horsemen's groups.

The Indiana Horse Racing Commission is looking into allegations regarding expenditure of funds from the Indiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association Benefit Trust.

The IHRC at its Oct. 29 meeting was scheduled to address the customary request by the Indiana HBPA to be recognized as a registered horsemen's association in the state. The agenda item was tabled until at least Dec. 10.

IHRC chairman William Diener during the Oct. 29 meeting said he received an e-mail that "had some factual allegations which needed to be investigated by the commission staff because they go to the heart of our oversight responsibilities over a horsemen's association's expenditure of funds. That needs to be investigated."

Sources indicated the allegations are tied to use of funds in the Indiana HBPA Benefit Trust, specifically the alleged awarding of money to ineligible individuals, more than a year ago. Other state agencies could be asked to examine records, sources said.

"All we really know is that we applied for 2014 slots funds," Indiana HBPA executive director Mike Brown said Dec. 2. "We were scheduled for a hearing Oct. 29, but it was pulled from the agenda pending further questions the racing commission has for us."

Indiana Downs, which in 2013 acquired all Thoroughbred racing dates in the state, has slot machines from which revenue is derived to support racing and breeding. Horsemen's groups also receive a portion to support various programs; the IHRC has oversight of such funds.

IHRC executive director Joe Gorajec said Dec. 2 the request for recognition by the Indiana HBPA is not on the agenda for the Dec. 10 meeting, and he confirmed the IHRC is examining the complaints against the Indiana HBPA. The IHRC as part of its application process for such funds conducts standard examinations.

"If staff finds any rule violations or inappropriate action it could subsequently be taken up with the Indiana HBPA's application for funding for 2014," Gorajec said.

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