Maryland THA Board Calls for Revote on Bylaws

The organization's general counsel cited a technicality with previous vote.

The Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association said May 7 it will hold another vote on proposed changes to its bylaws after its general counsel found a “flaw” in a vote taken during a special election April 30.

A group of Maryland THA members has pushed to have the organization’s president and vice president elected by the full membership, not the board of directors. Members present at the April 30 meeting at Laurel Park voted by secret ballot to change the bylaws.

Maryland THA general counsel Alan Foreman, also chief executive officer of the umbrella group Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, noted May 1 that the list of voters included people licensed “after the date of record,” the Maryland THA said in a release. The group said the list contained 87 names of individuals who attended the meeting; in all, 243 people voted.

“The Maryland THA voting procedures for this type of special election restrict voting to only members of record as of the date that the notice for the special election is mailed out, in this case April 18,” the organization said.

The Maryland THA board of directors at the May 7 meeting moved to hold another vote open to all members of record as of May 7. It will be conducted by mailed ballot, and the votes “returned to an independent party to be counted.”

Frank Vespe, who operates That’s Amore Stables in Maryland and regularly blogs on horsemen’s activities in the state, said it hasn’t been determined how many “ineligible” people voted in the April 30 election. Vespe has said the change in bylaws has been a contentious issue for the organization, which negotiates horsemen’s contracts with the Maryland Jockey Club.

Vespe cited sources that said the May 7 board vote to invalidate the April 30 membership vote was 9-5.