An equine veterinarian has filed suit against the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission seeking access to records of owners and trainers licensed by the regulatory agency.
In the suit, filed in Fayette (Lexington) Circuit Court, Dr. S. F. Lococo claims the KHRC is not in compliance with the state's Open Records Act by refusing to provide the information he is seeking and/or is inconsistent in how it handles release of such information.
Lococo, of Goshen, Ky., contends in his complaint that licenses obtained by owners and trainers to participate in Kentucky racing constitute occupational licenses and are therefore public record.
In an Oct. 18, 2012, letter to the commission, Judy Lococo, office manager for S. F. Lococo, requested addresses for 41 owners or trainers and for the owners of seven horses listed in the document. In the request, Lococo said public access to the information was needed "if the integrity of racing" is to be promoted.
Without the ability to obtain addresses of licensed owners and trainers "it makes it very difficult to ensure licensees maintain their financial obligations, which is also a requirement pursuant to the (Kentucky racing) regulations," Judy Lococo wrote in the letter. She added that if licensees wanted protection from disclosure of home addresses they should provide business addresses.
"It is perplexing that the respondent has a regulation concerning licensing individuals who have not been financially responsible to others in the industry, yet it will not allow its licensees access to the information needed to ensure other licensees are financially responsible," Lococo's suit states.
Susan Speckert, general counsel for the KHRC, said it is the agency's policy not to discuss pending litigation.
In response to Lococo's Oct. 18 request, the KHRC responded that it is the agency's position that the information is exempt from disclosure under the Open Records Act.
"Pursuant to KRS 61.878(1)(a), any 'information of a personal nature where the public disclosure thereof would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy' is exempt from disclosure under the Open Records Act," the KHRC letter stated. "The Kentucky Attorney General and Kentucky courts have consistently held that a person's name, address, telephone number, and the like constitute information as to a 'personal nature' to which an individual has some expectation of privacy."