Albany, NY (July 30, 2010) -
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 29, 2010
CONTACT: JOE MAHONEY, Racing and Wagering, cell 518-698-3879
And/or: JOSEPH MORRISSEY, Dept. of Labor, office 518-457-5519
NYS RACING AND WAGERING BOARD TAKES ACTION AGAINST TRAINER IN WAGE CASE
New York State Racing and Wagering Board Chairman John D. Sabini announced today that the Board has revoked the license of thoroughbred racing trainer Roger Horgan because of his "financial irresponsibility" -- a finding stemming from a state Department of Labor probe into the underpayment of backstretch workers at Saratoga Race Course.
Following up on that investigation as well as a hearing before a Board administrative law judge, the Racing and Wagering Board unanimously concluded that Mr. Horgan failed to meet financial fitness suitability requirements to continue to hold his license.
Mr. Horgan was among the trainers who drew the attention of Department of Labor investigators in 2008 when the agency delved into violations of minimum wage and overtime laws affecting backstretch workers, including the "hot walkers," grooms and watchmen.
The Department of Labor returned to Saratoga last year and found that as a result of these enforcement efforts, more and more trainers were in compliance with the law. Last year, a number of trainers attended seminars offered by the Labor Department to educate them about labor laws and others learned how to change their practices to comply.
On July 10, 2009, the Department of Labor issued an Order to Comply against Roger Horgan (T/A Roger Horgan Racing) for $5,282.93 in overtime underpayments, civil penalties and interest. Mr. Horgan ignored
the order and a judgment was entered in the State of New Y ork, County of Saratoga, by the Department of Labor on February 2, 2010.
"When the Department of Labor shared its findings with the Racing and Wagering Board, our staff put trainers on notice that they could lose their license if they failed to ensure their payroll practices are in accordance with state law," Chairman Sabini said. "There are indications now that we have substantial compliance at the Saratoga Race Course. We hope the discipline meted out in this matter will further drive home the message that serious consequences await any employer who systematically shortchanges their track workers."
State Labor Commissioner Colleen C. Gardner said, "The way the racing industry treats its workers is changing for the better, but this is a reminder that some problems do still persist. I commend Chairman Sabini and the Racing and Wagering Board for taking such decisive action against Mr. Horgan. The lesson here is simple: A license to race in New York is reserved only for trainers who comply with all state laws, including the Labor Law."