Hayward Speaks Out on Termination at NYRA

Hayward Speaks Out on Termination at NYRA
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Charles Hayward

Former New York Racing Association president and chief executive officer Charles Hayward said Jan. 24 he wants the association to meet its obligations in the wake of his being fired last year.

Hayward was released by the NYRA board of directors after the racing organization was criticized for not implementing a legislated reduction in pari-mutuel takeout. The situation was said to have cost bettors about $8 million.

Hayward issued a statement the day after the Albany Times Union reported Hayward and former NYRA counsel Patrick Kehoe are seeking buyouts from NYRA. The story also said current chief operating officer Ellen McClain is doing the same.

In the statement, Hayward said his employment was "terminated arbitrarily and without cause" nine months ago. He also called "inaccurate" an interim report from the New York State Racing and Wagering Board on the takeout issue.

"The NYRA board of directors denied my request for an opportunity to challenge the false allegations in the report or set the record straight," Hayward said. "The publication of the interim report led to two investigations. I have cooperated fully with both an internal NYRA investigation and with the New York Inspector General's investigation. To date, no report of either investigation has been issued to the public."

Hayward said he "acted with integrity at all times" during his more than seven years with NYRA. He said he had an employment agreement with NYRA, and expects his "improper termination to be satisfactorily addressed."

The new NYRA board is scheduled to meet again Jan. 25.

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