New NYRA Board to Address Ethics

The new New York Racing Association board is expected to approve a code of ethics.

The new board of directors for the state-controlled New York Racing Association is expected to approve a new code of ethics when it meets in open session Dec. 12.

The board, created earlier this year to let the state take over NYRA operations for the next three years, is expected to adopt a new code of ethics for board members and employees and put in place legal requirements regarding disclosure of outside business activities by board members.

The board is scheduled to approve David Skorton, president of Cornell University, as the new NYRA chairman.

The board's agenda, posted December 11 on NYRA's web site, includes an item to ban donations by NYRA board members to statewide and legislative campaigns. It appears silent, though, on other kinds of political donations such as to local party organizations, which often transfer donations to statewide or legislative candidates, or to federal campaigns. The board is set to abolish the New York Thoroughbred Racing Industry Political Action Committee, a vehicle used over the years by NYRA leaders to bundle campaign donations to New York politicians.

The board is expected to approve a ban on wagering by NYRA corporate officers and embrace a resolution to abide by the state's open meeting laws, which require board meetings be open to the public and agenda items be released in advance. The board, according to its agenda, is scheduled to meet only four times in 2013, with the next meeting March 6.

The board is scheduled to hear a presentation about new public viewing access facilities at Saratoga's Oklahoma track, a plan set to occur during the track's 150th anniversary next year.

The meeting will include a review of the finances of what the state is calling the New NYRA, which Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushed this year following years of battles between a long line of New York governors and the racing corporation.