Ohio Racing Commission Chairman Resigns

Ohio State Racing Commission chairman Luther Heckman has resigned in the wake of a state investigation into commission activities.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported Heckman submitted a one-line resignation letter Feb. 18 after Gov. Bob Taft asked him to resign. Taft appointed commissioner Scott Borgemenke, the newest member of the panel, to take Heckman's place.

The commission has a meeting scheduled for Feb. 19.

"Gov. Taft viewed the management problems and ethical lapses, as reported by the inspector general, as unacceptable," Taft spokesman Orest Holubec told the Plain Dealer. "The governor believes the best way to change the culture at the commission is through a change in leadership."

Ohio Inspector Tom Charles ripped the commission in a report that accused all of its members --except Borgemenke--of accepting food, drinks, travel, and other improper gifts from racetracks they are charged with overseeing. The report also concluded Heckman and former executive director Cliff Nelson violated policies that ban commission employees from wagering on any live race conducted at an Ohio track.

Nelson resigned before the report was released. Nelson and Heckman have defended their activities.

Borgemenke opened a lobbying and consulting business after having served as Taft's chief policy adviser.

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