NYRA Trustee Resigns, Blasts Bruno
Charles Wait, president of the Adirondack Trust Company in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., has resigned from his position on the New York Racing Association’s board of trustees, citing his dissatisfaction with the position of Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno as the main reason for his decision.

“I feel strongly at odds with the Senate’s position, or really, their lack of one,” Wait wrote in a letter dated Jan. 30 to NYRA chairman Steve Duncker. “I also feel that Saratogians need to know where I stand on this most important issue to our city.”

Bruno is refusing to go along with an agreement to extend the racing franchise which was made between Gov. Eliot Spitzer and NYRA because the arrangement was worked out privately and without input from legislators. The Senator also has stated his desire to increase the number of NYRA trustees appointed by the state government, and has expressed an intent to reduce the size of the 23-member NYRA board overall.

“Publicly articulating a position of disagreement with a popular and powerful Senator may not be well received,” Wait continued in his letter. “Should there be retribution, I have no desire for NYRA to be the target. In addition, some might regard my support of NYRA as a selfish desire to promote my own interests as a member of the board of trustees. For these reasons, I have reluctantly concluded that my proper course of action is to publicly articulate my support of NYRA and resign my position as a member of the board of trustees.”

A trustee for 23 years, Wait was selected by the racing association to serve in that capacity after holding NYRA stock for several years.

“The contribution Charles has made to the racing industry and to NYRA throughout his tenure as a NYRA Board member is enormous,” Duncker said. “As has been his practice throughout his years of service on the NYRA Board, Charles’ resignation is motivated by his selfless desire to do what is best for Thoroughbred racing and the Saratoga community. He has taken decisive action aimed at protecting the interests of his community.”

With a Feb. 13 deadline looming for resolution of the franchise issue, many have expressed concern that racing will cease in New York altogether. Government and NYRA representatives have been negotiating to resolve the issue for months with little success.

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