Former New York Regulator Lands Post as Counsel

A former New York State Racing and Wagering Board member has taken a post with Assembly Democrats in Albany as counsel to the House's racing committee chairman.

Bennett Liebman served 12 years on the regulatory panel during which time he became known as one of the state's top experts on racing and pari-mutuel issues. But Liebman, a Democrat appointed by former Gov. Mario Cuomo, lost his post last June when Gov. George Pataki ousted himto make way for Cheryl Ritchko-Buley, the wife of the state Republican Party's counsel.

"Clearly, this is a very experienced and knowledgeable person. With his background, we're happy to have him," said Charles Carrier, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, a Manhattan Democrat.

Liebman, who will make $54,849 in his new job, will be involved in a number of potential controversial issues this year, including the annual battle between tracks and off-track betting corporations for a shrinking share of the betting dollar, the possible sale of the New York City Off Track Betting Corp., and the perennial battle over casino gambling.

Liebman, a lawyer who worked in the former Cuomo administration, declined comment.