Jockeys' Guild Responds to Congressional Request

The Jockeys' Guild has responded to a request by a United States Congressional subcommittee related to its management, accounting and oversight of funds, but the information produced by the California-based Guild won't be available until the week of May 10.

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield of Kentucky, requested the information via an April 20 letter. Information supplied by the Guild is in two FedEx packages currently in New Jersey.

The delay isn't unusual, Jeff Miles, an aide based in Whitfield's Washington, D.C., office, said May 5. Since the Anthrax scare a few years ago, all mail is sent to New Jersey to be irradiated and processed, he said.

"They've been responsive," Miles said of the Guild. "Documents were sent before the deadline (of May 4). Unfortunately, we can't speak to what they are right now. But we've had correspondence with Guild attorneys, and they've started producing documents."

Whitfield's letter was sent to Guild president Dr. Wayne Gertmenian. Whitfield requested the information in connection with an ongoing investigation by the subcommittee concerning the adequacy of on-track injury health insurance for jockeys and the absence of injury-related health insurance for many exercise riders and backstretch workers.

Requested items include Gertmenian's resume; a description of the Guild's relationship with Gertmenian's consulting firm, Matrix Capital Associates, which has operated the Guild since 2001; records relating to on- and off-track health insurance coverage for Guild members; circumstances surrounding the lapse of the Guild's catastrophic insurance policy in 2002; and information regarding the dismissal of Eddie King as treasurer and senator last December.

Whitfield also requests information regarding all sources of revenue received by the Guild; a list of paid and volunteer personnel, their duties and annual compensation; contracts between the Guild and racetracks regarding per mount fees and the Guild's use of those fees; contracts with Guild members regarding media and intellectual rights; and records relating to the Guild's creation and maintenance of the Disabled Jockeys' Endowment.

The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations is part of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and has jurisdiction over five Cabinet-level departments and seven independent agencies. A hearing on Guild-related issues could be scheduled in two to three months.