- Or maybe as in Gonzo may be more appropriate. Consider that on the day that L. Wayne Gertmenian was removed by a reconstituted board of directors of the Jockey Guild, he was overheard by LA Times reporter Bill Christine yelling at the interim national manager Darrell Haire while interviewing him on the phone. "Get out. Get out, or I'll call the police."
Haire was asked whether that had been Gertmenian.[Matt Hegarty reports more on the confrontation in the Form.] You would think that, at this point, Gertmenian would want to see police in his office about as much as does Karl Rove. Because besides his mismanagement and his allowing its on-track insurance policy to lapse without notifying the membership, his funneling of Guild’s funds to his Matrix Capital consulting firm could possibly, at least to this non-legal mind, be construed as embezzlement. Already, Rep. Ed Whitfield said "we're still looking at" possibly pursuing perjury or other charges against Gertmenian.
"Yes, it is," he said.
Barry Broad, a former lawyer for the guild, said Tuesday night that there was a scuffle in the office and that Monrovia police appeared. But no arrests or charges were made. [LA Times]
Amongst the documents posted on the Subcomittee’s website is a ledger of Matrix expenses “directly benefiting the Jockeys’ Guild,” and it includes some $70,000 paid to ‘Scoop, Inc.’ between June, 2001 and last December. During the congressional hearing, Gertmenian acknowledged that the company was actually his daughter Farrah. There was another $14,000 made out to Farrell, or F. Gertmenian; over $60,000 to VP Albert Fiss, who was not removed on Tuesday; $3,000 to Don Peppe’s, a restaurant near JFK Airport, and $6,000 to that popular payee “Travel Expense Reimbursement.”
What the real financial status of the Guild is won’t be clear until they’re done going over the books. And despite everything, the Guild’s agenda will likely move forward during Thursday’s Subcommittee hearing. Matt Hegarty in the Form reports:
Despite the divisive atmosphere Gertmenian helped to create during his tenure, some of his calls for reform have been met by the racing industry....Jockey Brian Peck, though acknowledging that the change is in the best interest of riders, added
In addition, following the Congressional hearing, several Democratic members of the subcommittee sent a letter to the chairman of the National Labor Relations Board urging the board to consider allowing jockeys to conduct collective bargaining negotiations with racetracks. Gertmenian has called for such power despite questions over whether jockeys could ever be represented by a union because of their status as independent contractors.
"He's sure gotten us noticed...He sure got people to sit up straight and pay attention on a lot of issues. I don't have anything bad to say about him." [Louisville Courier-Journal]Good thing for Peck that he wasn’t riding Lil Bit of Rouge in the 7th at Mountaineer on July 20, 2004. It seems to me that to give Dr. G any credit for progress being made on insurance and collective bargaining issues is misguided. Given the testimony and documentation, I think it’s fair for one to speculate that Gertmenian simply did and said what he had to in order to maintain his financial windfall and to deflect attention away from any apparent mismanagement or corruption. To surmise, even venomously, that he used Gary Birzer in some perverse grand scheme to focus attention on issues of importance to jockeys that is now paying off is to imply that he really cared about those issues, and in any event is likely giving him far too much credit.