A former U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York, Denise O'Donnell, has joined the Empire Racing team to help create a comprehensive racing and corporate integrity plan that will be a "covenant of trust and confidence" with racing fans and the public.Empire Racing CEO Jeff Perlee said the new integrity plan will be the "keystone" of the company's future operations. An indictment of the New York Racing Association led to an 18-month supervision period by the Getnick & Getnick law firm acting as a court-appointed monitor of NYRA's operations and activities. Getnick & Getnick's report involved a series of findings and proposals for racing. In addition, a criminal probe of NYRA launched by Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and a major audit by State Comptroller Alan Hevesi found rampant abuse by NYRA, and the need for systemic reform.
"The Getnick Report and findings by the attorney general and Comptroller shed necessary and valuable light on the need for fundamental reform in New York racing, particularly involving financial integrity, transparency, and corporate accountability," said Perlee. "These public servants have highlighted the need for change. The new racing operator should go above and beyond on issues of financial and corporate integrity. Denise O'Donnell is the perfect professional to help guide this effort."A lifelong New Yorker, O'Donnell was appointed U.S. Attorney by President Bill Clinton in 1998 on the recommendation of the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan. In office, she focused on issues of public corruption, domestic terrorism, health care fraud and financial crimes and earned a reputation for thoroughness, integrity, and independence. Most recently, she was a Democratic candidate for State Attorney General to succeed Eliot Spitzer, the Party's nominee for Governor. O'Donnell is a partner in the Buffalo law firm of Hodgson, Russ."The rules of the present RFP process prohibit any comment on any specific plan or program that I will assist Empire Racing in devising and implementing. Suffice it to say that we view the Getnick Report and subsequent actions and reports from the comptroller and attorney general as the necessary foundation for reform. Empire Racing's plans and actions will reflect the very latest and most stringent guidelines to ensure accountability and integrity, at the tracks and in the boardroom," said O'Donnell.