Tim Gordon loses his $87,500 breeding job

12:17 PM 03 Aug 2012 NZST
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Tim Gordon - thanks for coming!
Tim Gordon - thanks for coming!

A former United States Assemblyman and harness racing and galloping breeder Tim Gordon has been sacked from his $87,500 a year job. Tim Gordon, the leader of the Agriculture and New York Horse Breeding Development Fund was given the red card for alleged mismanagement, including hiring his friends.

The 51-year-old, got the Breeding Fund job in March last year after losing his assembly seat acouple of years ago.

Gordon was defeated by Republican Steve McLaughlin in his 2010 bid for re-election after he was filmed disposing of his opponent's lawn signs and calling an alleged constituent a "fraud".

But it was his mates that cost him his current position.

State officials, who said they did not want to be named, said Gordon allegedly tried to hire friends -putting some of them on the payroll as consultants. They way he avoided Boardapproval.

A contract for accounting was flagged in a New York State Racing and Wagering Board.

The Bethlehem (PA) resident was also criticized for allegedly entering into contracts for just under the $15,000 minimum that required the fund's board to review and approve of such deals.

Contracts in question included marketing and advertising for the ‘Harness Racing Update' and the ‘New York Sire Stakes' logo. Inappropriate or questionable deals and hires are being terminated by the state and the incidents are being referred to the inspector general's office, a state official said.

Gordon said he was not faulted by his board for his spending. "I'm very proud of the job I did while I was there," he said.

"Everything I did was appropriate and ethical." He said he received a letter this week advising him of the board's decision to dismiss him. "The board of trustees decided to go in another direction," hesaid. "I respect the board's decision. I did things by the book."

The board includes Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John Sabini, Agriculture Commissioner Darrel Aubertine and two members of the New York State Harness Racing Commission.

The Breeding Development Fund is one of two public funds created to benefit the horse industry. The Horse Breeding Development Fund's chief task is to fund purses for the Sire Stakes races at the state's seven harness tracks.

The fund is supposed to benefit the standardbred industry and draws most of its $18 million budget from video lottery terminal revenue. The fund has operated in the red in recent years.

The fund is scheduled to be merged in February into a new gaming commission, which will combine lottery and wagering functions. A similar public benefit corporation, called the Thoroughbred Breeding & Development Fund, is run by Tracy Egan.

After two terms in the Assembly as an Independence Party member closely aligned with Assembly Democrats, Gordon lost re-election in 2010. Voters in his Capital Region district turned to newcomer Steve McLaughlin, a Republican. That year, Gordon made news for removing McLaughlin's campaign signs and for using his own mower to cut grass at Thacher Park during a time of state fiscal difficulties.

Duane RANGER (editor) and courtesy of James D. ODATO (Timesunion.com)

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