A labor lobbyist and lawyer in Sacramento, Calif. who has represented the Jockeys' Guild for 11 years dropped the organization as a client Oct. 21 after its management came under sharp criticism at a Congressional sub-committee hearing earlier in the month.
"I saw those hearings," said Barry Broad, referring to the House Subcomittee on Oversight and Investigations on Oct. 18 into the administration of Wayne Gertmenian, president of the Guild. "I felt compelled (to drop the Guild), sadly so, because I feel I've been involved in a number of good things for (jockeys)."
He added, "There are some traditional trade-union principles that this management team doesn't adhere to. Failing to be candid with the commission is a problem for me. Failing to answer questions adequately is a problem for me. Failing to provide materials requested by the commission is a big problem for me. I no longer felt I could represent them before legislators."
This year, Broad pushed a jockey health and welfare bill that is pending in the California legislature and has represented the Guild on numerous occasions before the state horse racing board, which conducted an audit of the Guild over the dispersal of medical payments with state funds.
The House sub-committee testimony focused on the Guild's alleged failure to support jockey welfare as well as its management and finances. Following the first hearing, the Guild's executive committee voted Oct. 26 to begin an internal investigation into payments made to Gertmenian's consulting company, Matrix Capital Associates, which manages the organization's finances. Gertmenian reportedly is the sole employee of Matrix, which has only one client, The Guild.
Broad said he hoped jockeys would take back control of the Guild and put riders' welfare and federal oversight of horseracing back in the forefront.
"The focus on management of the Guild is a diversion," he said. "As long as that is what is going on, progress is difficult to make on these other issues."