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Monday, June 07, 2010

Thanks for the Memories

In his letter of resignation submitted to Governor Paterson, Myron "Sandy" Frucher asserted that he had "successfully completed all of the tasks assigned to me upon my appointment" as chairman of NYC OTB. Those tasks basically were confirming that OTB was insolvent and:

"2) development of a sound restructuring plan that would not require taxpayer funds, treat employees with dignity and respect, will benefit the racing industry and permit it to continue as an economic engine for the State.."
Of course, Frucher's idea of treating employees with dignity and respect included severance pay and raises which were unpalatable to lawmakers in the current environment. His attempt to alter, to the racetracks' and horsemen's detriment, OTB's statutory payment obligations met fierce resistance. And his ultimately empty threat to close in a desperate attempt to wrest concessions from the industry destroyed his credibility in Albany, which, I might add, is quite an accomplishment.

However, just maybe, his tenure will one day be looked back on as a turning point for the racing industry in New York. By lying to and deceiving lawmakers, Frucher succeeded in personifying - and if "the evil" is too strong a phrase in this case, let's say - the waste and utter illogicality of the current structure of the industry in this state. By doing so, perhaps he at least helped to finally educate them on the subject. With his flawed proposals now completely off the table, maybe sensible ideas that at least begin to cut to the very roots of the situation - such as the one by the Assembly Racing and Wagering Committee Chairman Gary Pretlow which included talk of statewide consolidation of tote operations - will finally take hold. That is just a start I know. But with the futility of reconciling OTB's survival with that of NYRA and the rest of the state's racetracks now fully exposed and, we can only hope, fully comprehended, maybe it's a start of something significant.


jk said...

This was a rare loss for NY public employees. Perhaps the tide has turned.

I think you are correct, this was a good education for the powers that be in Albany. The cash cow that is the NY racing industry needs to be fed, not bled to death.

Anonymous said...

Has us wondering if Frucher will step down from his BOD at SPAC in Saratoga Springs.