Indiana HRC Establishes Legal Department

Commission announced the hiring of Lea Ellingwood as general counsel.

The Indiana Horse Racing Commission has hired Lea Ellingwood as general counsel.

Ellingwood, a graduate of Indiana University School of Law, comes to the IHRC from the Indiana Gaming Commission where she served as deputy counsel. In that position, she had administrative law experience while prosecuting casinos and occupational licensees for violation of Gaming Commission regulations. Lea has also prosecuted mixed-martial arts fighters, boxers, and charity gaming license holders.

Lea’s credentials from other positions in state government include general counsel for the Indiana State Department of Toxicology and staff attorney for both the Indiana Public Access Counselor and the Department of Revenue.

The IHRC said it will be hiring a deputy general counsel in the near future.

The firm of Bingham McHale (now Bingham Greenebaum Doll), and its partner, Robin Babbitt, have acted as outside counsel to the IHRC since shortly after the passage of the Pari-Mutuel Wagering on Horse Races Act in 1989. Recently, the firm has made a strategic decision to end this longstanding representation in order to pursue potential business opportunities that might not otherwise be available to it.

“The role Bingham McHale has played in establishing the commission’s stature within the horse racing community cannot be overstated,” said Joe Gorajec, executive director of the IHRC, in a statement. “Robin Babbitt leaves an extraordinary legacy--especially in the area of administrative and civil litigation.”

Bingham Greenebaum Doll will be assisting the IHRC with an orderly transition of legal matters over the next several months.