Guild Board to Discuss 'Fallout' From Congressional Hearing

Jockeys' Guild board chairman David Shepherd said he will bring a neutral position on the organization's leadership, specifically president and CEO Wayne Gertmenian, when the board conducts a teleconference meeting as early as Tuesday evening.

Shepherd, who testified during a Congressional hearing in Washington, D.C., last Tuesday, said the purpose of the meeting will be to "discuss the fallout" from the hearing. "Most of the stuff that came out we kind of knew," he said.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations challenged the legitimacy of Gertmenian's resume, which claims the Pepperdine University professor "served the Nixon and Ford administrations as a chief detente negotiator in Moscow for the chairman of the National Security Council." House members criticized Gertmenian for allowing a $1-million on-track accident insurance policy to lapse, and then not notifying jockeys. They also questioned whether he was funneling Guild money to Matrix Capital Associates, a consulting firm with no employees and no other clients other than the Guild, and then not providing adequate services in return. They also chided Gertmenian for not providing minutes from Guild board meetings, despite a subpoena from the committee.

Shepherd and former Guild board chairman Tomey Jean Swan were also asked by Congress about the missing board minutes.

"We have minutes from our last board meeting we have to approve," Shepherd said, "and then all the minutes from meetings this year will be sent (to Congress). Other minutes from the past, I assume they are putting them together.

"Everything was blown out of proportion," Shepherd added. "They put just enough facts up there to make things look terrible. The picture that was painted from past to present was not an accurate picture. Let's just say there has been no change in the way the disabled riders have been paid, from the Giovanni era till now. It's all exactly the same."

Shepherd defended the amount of money Gertmenian and Matrix Capital receive from the Guild. "If you look at the same things (former national manager John Giovanni) did, you'll find we receive a lot more services today for the dollars spent than we did then."

Shepherd said this isn't the first time the Guild's top executive has been under attack. "I've watched the same song and dance go from Nick Jemas to John Giovanni to Dr. G (Gertmenian's nickname)," he said. "I'm not going to jump to any conclusions. When the dust settles, I think they will find the same thing they did in the past, that there was no theft anywhere. But my job will be as a mediator."

Jemas preceded Giovanni as national manager for the Guild.

Shepherd concedes the Guild leadership is under severe criticism. "If we had leadership the industry was happy with," he said, "I would wonder who our leadership was really working for."