Ohio HBPA Board Meeting
11:00 am, Friday, July 15th, 2022
Ohio HBPA Main Office, Grove City, OH
Members Present: President Joe Poole Directors: Bobby Cline, Mark Doering, Jeff Jarvis, Bruce Miller, John Royer, Robin Schuster, Kristi Tumblin and Kim Williams
Members Unable to Attend: Susan Anderson, Dick McCall and Mike Rone
Executive Director Dave Basler, OHBPA Lobbyist Hunter Wright
Call to Order/ Approval of Minutes:
President Poole called the meeting to order. After review President Poole moved and Director Miller seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the May 23rd, 2022 Ohio HBPA board of directors meeting. Motion passed.
President Poole moved and Director Tumblin seconded a motion to approve the minutes of the June 24th,2022 conference call of the Ohio HBPA board of directors. Motion passed.
*Directors Anderson and Rone are granted automatic excused absences from this meeting due to racing at Belterra Park on this date.
Special Orders of Business;
Hunter Wright from OHBPA lobbying firm Pappas and Associates provided the board with a legislative update.
Executive Director’s Report:
The executive director updated the board on the latest happenings involving the implementation of the HISA Safety rules on July 1st including discussion of a whipping violation at Belterra Park earlier in the week when the stewards incorrectly disqualified the horse for wagering purposes as well as for purse purposes. Discussion was also held regarding a third lawsuit filed against HISA, this one by the Louisiana AG, Louisiana Racing Commission, Louisiana HBPA, et al. Basler detailed a virtual meeting he and lobbyist Tom Pappas had with the Ohio AG’s office discussing the Louisiana case.
Discussion was held regarding the written settlement demand letter from Ohio HBPA legal counsel to the defendants in the Belterra retroactive VLT monies lawsuit as well as the written response from Belterra’s legal counsel to the demand letter. Due to the sensitive and ongoing nature of all of the legal actions mentioned above no further details of the discussions will be provided in these minutes.
Purses and Wagering
Basler updated the board on the current status of the purse accounts at all three Ohio thoroughbred tracks. Showing that all three tracks were ahead of where they were on the same dates in 2021 but that the gap was narrowing at both Thistledown and Belterra Park due to two factors in play at each track, one the better races are going more frequently at both tracks leading to more purse money being spend per day than projected for the meet and two the decrease in VLT revenues year over year for three straight months.
Basler went through handouts provided to the board showing VLT revenues for the state’s seven commercial racetracks which showed that the net win at Thistledown for June, 2022 was $15,175,368 down over $2,200,000 from the previous June. Mahoning Valley recorded a net win of $13,107,628 in June down approximately $350,000 from the June, 2021 net win figure at the track. The net win at Belterra Park was $7,650,194 which was down approximately $430,000 from the prior year figure.
Benevolence, Policies and Organization
Following discussion and a review of the Ohio HBPA Code of Regulations Section 7.5 Other Organization- Conflict of Interest, Director Jarvis moved and Director Cline seconded a motion not to grant a waiver to Mike Annechino in the owner only category for the upcoming Ohio HBPA board of directors election based upon a conflict of interest under section 7.5 of the Ohio HBPA Code of Regulations. Motion passed. Director Royer voted no. Director Miller abstained.
Director Jarvis moved and Director Cline seconded a motion not to grant a waiver to Rich Zielinski in the trainer/owner trainer category for the upcoming Ohio HBPA board of directors election based upon a conflict of interest under section 7.5 of the Ohio HBPA Code of Regulations. Motion passed. Directors Doering and Schuster voted no. Director Miller abstained.
The executive director detailed to the board the disqualification of two candidates from the upcoming Ohio HBPA board of directors election due to their election materials not reaching the main office until July 2nd in violation of section 7.3 (d) of the Ohio HBPA Code of Regulations.
Government and External Affairs
Following extensive discussion regarding HISA and the National HBPA response to HISA Director Doering moved and Director Miller seconded a motion that the executive director and President Poole insist that the National HBPA change federal lobbyists when they meet with the National HBPA executive committee on August 4th, Motion passed.
Director Jarvis moved and Director Royer seconded a motion that should the National HBPA not agree to change lobbyists the executive director is instructed to poll other National HBPA affiliates regarding a coalition to hire a new lobbyist on behalf of the Ohio HBPA and those groups. Should such a coalition exist the executive director is further instructed to come back to the Ohio HBPA board with a recommendation for a federal lobbyist as well as potentially legal counsel specializing in constitutional issues. Motion passed.
Budget and Finance
Discussion was held regarding the main ice machine at Thistledown with the board asking the executive director to provide additional estimates included for a cubed ice maker given that the lead time to buy a new machine is currently between 3 and 6 months.
Following discussion President Poole moved and Director Cline seconded a motion that the executive director be allowed to send a letter, a copy of which was provided to the board members at the meeting, to HISA CEO Lisa Lazarus drafted in part by Ohio HBPA legal counsel at Porter Wright preserving our legal rights regarding assessments being charged to horsemen or purse accounts without HBPA agreement but that if money was going to be taken it should be from the purse accounts at each track rather than assessing owners a per start fee. Motion passed.
Following discussion regarding a written request from the OTBO Director Jarvis moved and Director Williams seconded a motion for the OHBPA to approve the OTBO request for $25,000 for operations to be paid from the Industry Initiative Fund. Motion passed.
The date for the next OHBPA board meeting was set for Monday, September 12th,2022 beginning at 11:00am at the main OHBPA office.
President Poole moved and Director Williams seconded a motion to adjourn. Motion passed.