KEEP Supports Legislation on Dual Agency

The Kentucky Equine Education Project has given its support for legislation that would make it unlawful for anyone to represent both buyer and seller in a transaction involving horses without written permission of both parties.

The bill, sponsored by Democratic Rep. Denver Butler, was introduced and is headed to the House Licensing and Occupations, of which Butler is chairman. California vintner and Kentucky horse farm owner Jess Jackson pushed for the legislation.

Though horse-industry related, the bill wasn't on the legislative agenda of KEEP, which is seeking tax relief and a constitutional amendment on racetrack casino gambling during the current General Assembly session in Kentucky.

"KEEP strongly supports integrity in the horse business," the organization said in a Jan. 31 statement. "KEEP will support any legislation that promotes integrity in the horse business and makes it clear that dual agency without full disclosure and consent is illegal and will not be tolerated."

The statement was issued after a meeting of the KEEP legislative committee.

Jackson met with Kentucky Senate Republicans Jan. 26 to discuss the legislation. A committee hearing on the bill hasn't been scheduled.

One official indicated some changes could be made to the original bill.

"There seems to be widespread support for the bill's provisions that protect investors (in horses)," said Republican Sen. Damon Thayer, who along with Republican Senate President David Williams met with Jackson to discuss the legislation. "Its chances for passage are very good. But there are some concerns on the attorneys' fees aspects, so some changes are being made. We don't want a bill that promotes frivolous lawsuits."

Thayer said Jackson subsequently prepared suggested changes to the legislation.

Overall, industry organizations and associations said they support full disclosure and promoting confidence by buyers of horses; some of them specifically said they support the legislation.

Jackson is a longtime racing fan who began to invest heavily in racing and breeding stock in 2004. He owns Thoroughbred farms in Kentucky and Florida. Last year, he filed a lawsuit against agents Emmanuel de Seroux and Brad Martin and trainer Bruce Headley that alleged fraud in private and public auction purchases made on behalf of Jackson.