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*** UPDATED x1 *** Pritzker kicks three Racing Board members to the curb for allegedly illegal campaign contributions

Friday, Feb 28, 2020

* Mitchell Armentrout at the Sun-Times

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Thursday forced out three members of the Illinois Racing Board for allegedly making illegal political contributions, leaving the state’s horse racing regulatory agency in flux as the struggling industry jockeys to get back on track with help from a massive gambling expansion.

The abrupt resignations of Racing Board Chairman Jeffrey Brincat and commissioners Edgar Ramirez and Gregory Sronce were the result of apparent violations of a new provision included in the gaming package signed into law by Pritzker last summer, which bars board members from giving money to politicians.

“The Illinois Horse Racing Act states that ‘[n]o member of the Board … shall engage in any political activity,’” Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said in an email. “Three sitting members of the Illinois Racing Board made political contributions. As a result, they were asked to resign and each has submitted a letter of resignation.”

Brincat, who was appointed by Republican former Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2015, gave $1,000 to the campaign of state Sen. Tony Munoz, D-Chicago, on Dec. 15, according to Illinois State Board of Elections records, almost six months after Pritzker signed the gaming expansion June 28. […]

Three seats were already vacant on the 11-person racing board before the abrupt resignations of Brincat, Sronce and Ramirez. That leaves just five members, which is short of the quorum required “for the transaction of any business” under state law.

Oops.

*** UPDATE *** \Bernie

Sronce, 36, said Friday he agreed to resign from the panel that oversees horse racing in the state but was not aware of the law signed last summer until after he had written a $1,000 check to the Sangamon County Republican Foundation.

Gov. JB Pritzker signed the new gaming law on June 28. Board general counsel John Gay sent the board members a memo on July 15 saying in part “board members and staff are barred from participating in any political activity in support of or in connection with any campaign for state or local elective office or any political organization.”

Sronce produced a copy of a check he wrote July 2 to the GOP foundation. He also noted the group supports local candidates for offices including park and school board.

“It’s a very strange prohibition that as a commissioner you can’t donate to a local park board or school board candidate,” Sronce said, while gaming interests can donate to legislators who make laws concerning the industry and “can put them on the payroll.” He called the situation “ironic.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

13 Comments
  1. - DuPage Saint - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 9:26 am:

    I get they are on the board and should know law but I am curious when a law changes like that does the board attorney notify everyone and tell them of changes? Also who checks I wonder who dropped a dime on them?


  2. - Latina - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 9:52 am:

    Would love to be appointed to the Gaming Board


  3. - Big Joe - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 10:13 am:

    I would love to be appointed to the Racing Board.


  4. - anon - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 10:25 am:

    Looks like the IL Racing Board has had LOTS of problems, according to media reports like this:

    https://www.paulickreport.com/news/ray-s-paddock/payroll-drug-testing-oversight-are-concerns-as-illinois-horse-racing-heads-into-new-era/


  5. - The Horseman's Voice - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 10:50 am:

    This is JUST the beginning… funniest is Blago gets out the day the last IRB meeting was CANCELLED - February 18, 20/20

    The Horseman’s Voice


  6. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 11:15 am:

    === flux as the struggling industry jockeys to get back on track.===
    Was that pun intentional?


  7. - Etsy Jim - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 11:22 am:

    DuPage Saint poses a very good question. I know ignorance of the law is not a defense but would be curious if these folks were told about donation prohibitions after the law changed.
    With that said, it looks like issues exist with this agency so a shakeup may be good.


  8. - Dandy Dan - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 12:24 pm:

    Horseman’s Voice,
    No idea what you are trying to say involving Blagojevich. Please explain.


  9. - Leave a Light On George - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 1:27 pm:

    “Horseman’s Voice,
    No idea what you are trying to say involving Blagojevich. Please explain.”

    Blago tried to shake down a race track owner for campaign $ in exchange for signing legislation favorable to the horsey track.

    But what the heck he was a political prisoner. Victim of overzealous federalies. How dare the appellate court say the evidence on the charges he was sentenced for was “overwhelming.”


  10. - The Horseman's Voice - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 2:48 pm:

    What’s there to explain?

    There’s more to come with the IRB.

    Obviously you not appraised of the entire situation.


  11. - Etown - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 3:31 pm:

    Horse Racing is dying. Illinois Racing Board wont be needed in 10 years especially when Churchill closes Arlington in 2 years


  12. - Dandy Dan - Friday, Feb 28, 20 @ 4:39 pm:

    “This is JUST the beginning. There’s more to come with the IRB. Obviously you not appraised of the entire situation.” - - Horseman’s Voice.

    Since I am not aware of the situation and you apparently are, can you kindly share what you are saying?


  13. - The Horseman's Voice - Monday, Mar 2, 20 @ 11:33 am:

    Facts for “Mr Dandy Dan”

    January 2020 IGB Meeting Public Comment: Starts at 11 min 46 sec
    http://www.igb.illinois.gov/FilesBoardMeeting/20200130RiverboatAudio.mp3

    December 2019 IGB Meeting Public Comment: Starts at 6 min 52 sec
    http://www.igb.illinois.gov/FilesBoardMeeting/20191219RiverboatAudio.mp3

    June 2018 IRB Meeting Public Comment: Starts at 5 min 38 sec
    https://multimedia.illinois.gov/irb/irb-062618.mp3

    Note there’s one more public comment in 2009 when Chairman Sinopoli started the infamous ‘interruptions’ of public comment(s) - note the trend… violation of FREEDOM OF SPEECH - why would someone interrupt a citizens’ public comment?

    Good luck finding the audio - the court reporter had several ‘erroneous’ mistakes…
    https://www2.illinois.gov/sites/irb/Pages/MeetingMinutes2009.aspx


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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