Members of the Jockeys' Guild senate have called a special meeting for Nov. 15 to decide whether to remove the current board of directors, elect a new board, and replace the management team headed by Dr. Wayne Gertmenian and his company, Matrix Capital Associates. The jockeys who issued the release left little doubt they want a change.
In a Nov. 2 release with the Guild logo at the top, senate members said the emergency meeting has been called because of testimony given during an Oct. 18 Congressional subcommittee hearing at which Guild management was questioned and criticized. The release acknowledges that during the inquiry, "a number of mismanagement issues came to light."
Senate members have held at least two conference calls over the past few weeks to discuss the fallout from the Congressional inquiry. Soon after the hearing, longtime Guild attorney Barry Broad, an advocate for jockeys, resigned his position.
Jockey John Velazquez, one of the senate members who called the meeting, said in the release: "I don't believe Dr. Gertmenian and Matrix have the confidence of the members of the Guild, and the leadership of this organization must act decisively to ensure the Guild is run properly."
"There comes a time when the credibility of management has been so compromised that it is no longer effective," senate member Alex Solis said. "Dr. Germenian should do the honorable thing and step aside."
Said senate member Robbie Albarado: "Prior to the hearing, many riders were looking forward to long-anticipated answers and resolutions. Instead, what we have seen and heard has caused a total loss of faith and trust in our current leadership, and we feel a change is imperative to ensuring progress of the Guild and its members."
Mike Luzzi, another Guild senator who called for the special meeting, said: "I attended the Congressional hearing in Washington (D.C.), and afterward I could only conclude that it was necessary to make a change in management in order to save the Guild."
"I'm very concerned with the credibility of the current Jockeys' Guild president and management," senate member Jon Court said. "Our organization is taking action to meet the needs of our members."
The release states the bylaws of the Guild permit nine senators to convene a meeting of the full 27-member senate to consider bylaw changes or other matters. The 11 senators that called for the emergency meeting are: Albarado, Gary Boulanger, David Flores, Mark Guidry, Jeff Johnston, Luzzi, Richard Migliori, Larry Reynolds, Solis, Velazquez, and Jose Velez.
Of those senators, three are on the nine-member executive committee: Velazquez (co-vice chairman), Johnston (treasurer), and Reynolds.
Eric Banks, who has served as a spokesperson for the Guild, said Nov. 2 he no longer is associated with the organization and therefore couldn't comment on the latest developments.
Guild chairman David Shepherd and Albert Fiss, vice president of the Guild, couldn't be immediately reached for comment.