NYRA Hires Governor's Adviser to Serve as Counsel

A senior adviser to New York Gov. George Pataki is joining the New York Racing Association as its new general counsel, officials said June 12.

Patrick Kehoe, who helped broker a number of major racing and gambling measures on behalf of the Pataki administration, has been named vice president and general counsel, NYRA chairman Barry Schwartz said.

"He brings a wealth of experience in the area that NYRA operates in,'' Schwartz said. "We feel very, very fortunate to have him.''

Kehoe will start July 1, Schwartz said.

Schwartz said the state capital is a major source of activity for issues that affect NYRA, "and nobody has a better understanding of that than Patrick."

State ethics laws, however, will limit the extent of contacts Kehoe can have with the governor's office on certain issues. There is, for instance, a lifetime ban on former state officials having contact with their former agency on certain matters.

Kehoe, as counsel to Pataki, led the administration's negotiations last year that led to the greatest expansion of gambling in state history. The measure permitted video lottery terminals at most racetracks, including NYRA's Aqueduct facility; authorized up to six new Indian-owned casinos; and expanded the state lottery. Kehoe also has been a principal negotiator with Indian tribes on Indian gambling issues.

Kehoe replaces John Russo, who Schwartz said was terminated earlier this