Thursday, May 1, 2003

Racing panel's purchases get look



The Associated Press

LEXINGTON - Kentucky Racing Commission purchases of track passes and lapel pins will be reviewed by the state Finance and Administration Cabinet.

The review was requested by Janie Miller, secretary of the Public Protection and Regulation Cabinet, which governs the racing commission, in a recent letter to Finance Secretary Gordon Duke.

The commission regulates horse racing, tracks and wagering.

Miller said the scrutiny was prompted by articles published in the Lexington Herald-Leader about the commission's purchases of passes and pins - which guaranteed free admission at racetracks - from two vendors in 2000 and 2001. Miller also asked for a review of a bank account consisting of fees donated by commission members.

The commission ordered hundreds of pins and thousands of passes since Jan. 1, 2000, writing checks totaling more than $28,000 for them. Recipients included people with political connections.

In her letter to Duke, Miller wrote, "I do not have sufficient information at this point to determine whether the payments and the account conform with state practices, but I believe it would be advisable to review these and other financial transactions made by the commission."

Miller also asked for a review of how the racing commission pays its bills, uses its purchasing authority and complies with state procurement regulations. In his response, Duke said his cabinet will review every payment other than payroll the commission has made since July 1, 1999.

The racing commission is also under investigation by state Auditor Ed Hatchett.




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