By USTA Communications Department–Columbus, OH
As part of the initiative that commenced with Hanover Shoe Farms’ Executive Vice President Bridgette Jablonsky’s announcement in April of a $250,000 matching fund grant to promote integrity in harness racing, on Monday (July 6), U.S. Trotting Association President Russell Williams announced the establishment of the Standardbred Racing Investigative Fund.
The SRIF will exist as a division of the USTA but with independent, third-party oversight.
“After announcing the $250,000 challenge grant, we heard from several industry stakeholders who were concerned about industry participants having the ability to exert influence on or make decisions regarding investigations into possible regulatory or criminal abuses,” said Williams, who is president and CEO of Hanover Shoe Farms.
“These concerns are valid, so we have worked diligently with a leading Pennsylvania law firm to design a structure that would remove funding and investigative decision-making from the USTA and allow for total confidentiality. This difficult task has taken time, but it is almost complete,” added Williams.
The plan for the SRIF will be presented at an upcoming USTA Board of Directors Executive Committee meeting to be held within the next few weeks in order to gain Board approval.
If approved, complete details including who will serve on the SRIF Oversight Board, the way that money from donations will be allocated, how investigations will be conducted, and details of the plan for cooperative efforts with state racing commissions and local, state and federal authorities will be announced.
To read Dr. Jablonsky’s original announcement of the $250,000 matching funds grant from Hanover Shoe Farms, click here.