New Jersey THA Counsel: Zanzuccki's Conduct is 'Improper'

Prominent New Jersey owner and breeder Dennis Drazin, who has been accused of accepting inflated legal fees from the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, denied the allegations and called conduct by his accuser "improper."

Frank Zanzuccki, executive director of the New Jersey Racing Commission, made the allegations in a nine-page memo sent to the state attorney general and nine racing commissioners. A copy of it was obtained by the Newark Star-Ledger.

"Frank Zanzuccki should be fired," Drazin said.

Zanzuccki accused Drazin of accepting $645,000 from the New Jersey THA, for which he serves as counsel. Zanzuccki could not be reached for comment.

In the internal memo, Zanzuccki alleges the New Jersey THA improperly spent nearly $800,000 in legal fees and political contributions from its bookkeeper's interest fund. He suggested the leadership of the New Jersey THA be removed, and that the attorney general investigate his charges of fiscal mismanagement.

Drazin said that, while he did accept legal fees from the horsemen's association, he did so at a greatly reduced rate and only after he had worked for the organization for four years without earning a penny.

"The first bill I sent the New Jersey THA was for $75,000, and it covered a four-year period, from 1997 through 2000," Drazin said. "It was for a substantially reduced amount than I would normally receive. In my regular practice, I normally charge $300 an hour, and I could make $50,000 a week. The bills I sent to the New Jersey THA were for half the time I spent working for them."

According to published reports, Drazin is in line to be appointed chairman of the racing commission.