While the New York State Racing Commission certainly has the right to beat its proverbial chest about what it incorrectly views as a victory for integrity, it has a clear obligation to be both forthright and accurate. That an agency of New York government would issue a release that is so inaccurate is, at the very least, completely disingenuous.
For example, consider that while the term “illegally drugged” is used in the release, the alleged “drugs” are, in fact, substances that are permissible to be administered under the Commission’s own rules within a given timeframe.
Further, to say that the case has “finally come to a close” is clearly erroneous.
The release conveniently fails to mention that a decision on a motion was issued just last week (April 15) by the State Supreme Court in Schenectady, and that the highly questionable evidence upon which the Commission based its ruling will now be fully litigated in the courts.
Contrary to the Gaming Commission’s pronouncement, the case has really just started.
Clearly, trumpeting integrity sounds quite hollow when the trumpeter lacks integrity of its own.
Here is's Attorney Andy Turro's response to the Gaming Commission's Press Release concerning its determination of the Pena case.
"While we were disappointed about the Commission’s determination, we were not surprised given the that Agency’s record of routinely disposing of such matters in a manner adverse to the subject of its prosecution, especially since hearing officers are, in fact, hired by the Commission itself.
The Commission’s press release also contains misleading statements and omits critical facts.
First of all, Mr. Pena was not charged with administering any “illegal substances.”
Rather, he was charged with administering substances that are expressly permitted to be administered by the Commission’s own rules, but was claimed to have administered them too close to the time of the race.
And while the Commission did hold Mr. Pena responsible for 1,717 charged violations, the Commission’s press release fails to mention there was not a single positive test to support any one of its charges.
While the Commission’s release claims that it reviewed “veterinary records,” the Former Chairman of the New York State Veterinary Board who testified at the hearing confirmed that these “records” were no more than billing records.
The Commission’s release also does not disclose that the veterinary provider refused to certify the accuracy of those documents.
For all of these reasons, we intend to continue to pursue Mr. Pena’s legal remedies and we remain confident that in the end, Mr. Pena will be fully vindicated."
by JC for Harnesslink Media