Jockeys' Guild Operating in Deficit

Jockeys' Guild Operating in Deficit
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The financially-troubled Jockeys’ Guild has slightly more assets than liabilities, but projects a working monthly deficit of nearly $120,000, according to documents filed Nov. 26 in compliance with the group’s bankruptcy protection action.

The Guild, which Oct. 12 filed for Chapter 11 protection in a Louisville federal court, listed $3,796,376 in assets against $3,039,456 in liabilities, according to a summary sheet signed by national manager Terry Meyocks. But filings also claim the Guild is operating under a monthly capital deficit of $119,067, headed by an expenditure of $275,000 for insurance.

In a Nov. 5 letter to Guild members, Meyocks warned insurance might not continue “in its present form,” and has been encouraging jockeys to seek their own coverage.

"We are just trying to keep working at it, making sure that all of the paperwork gets there by the deadlines," Meyocks said of the filings. The court had earlier granted the Guild an extension of time to Nov. 26 to submit all of its filings.

The filings claim the Jockeys’ Guild owns no real property such as real estate, but lists more than $3.5 million in assets that include insurance premiums, dues, media rights, and a settlement agreement over a former lawsuit with Churchill Downs. The Guild also said it has $214,391 in 10 bank accounts, as well as office furniture and equipment valued at about $30,000.

The largest creditor is Wayne Gertmenian, the former chief executive officer of the Guild, who is listed with a combined figure of disputed and undisputed claims of $915,000. Gertmenian’s Matrix Capital Associates is also listed with a claim of $156,000.

Gertmenian, who is being sued by the Guild in California federal and state courts, is accused of taking $1 million from the organization. The federal suit was dismissed in August, but is under appeal pending the outcome of the Guild’s bankruptcy.

Another Guild former national manager, Dwight Manley, is listed with a claim of $591,465. Manley, who resigned his position in early September, reportedly loaned the Guild $500,000 to keep it out of bankruptcy.

Claims for legal and accounting firms total more than $340,000.

Among the other creditors is disabled former jockey Gary Birzer, who is listed with a claim of $72,000. Birzer sued the Guild after being injured in 2004 at a time when many jockeys thought they were covered by catastrophic insurance but were actually riding under a lapsed policy.

Manley announced in August 2006 that a settlement had been reached with Birzer, a compensation package which reportedly included five years worth of insurance coverage for the former jockey and his family.

Many of the other 500-plus creditors are current or former jockeys, with claims ranging from just a few dollars to more than $10,000.

Year to date, the Guild reports it has received more than $4.9 million in deposits, including nearly $1.7 million from mount fees, and nearly $1.2 million in contributions from the Thoroughbred Racing Associations, a racetrack trade organization.

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