Horse house owners say New Mexico regulators violated civil rights | Native Information

ALBUQUERQUE – An organization representing thousands of racehorse owners and trainers accuses New Mexico regulators of violating their civil rights.

The New Mexico Horsemen’s Association announced Tuesday that it is suing the state racing commission in federal court, saying it has no other legal recourse because the commission has banned the group and its members from contacting commissioners or attending their regular public meetings.

The commission cut communications after horse owners sued in December for preventing the panel from using funds to cover operating costs at the state’s five private racetracks.

The commission also voted earlier that year to prohibit group members from donating 1 percent of their cash profits to the association and to stop paying entry fees to fund medical expenses and advocacy fees. This led to another lawsuit by the association before the regional court.

Commission chairman Sam Bregman said in a statement Tuesday that it was the group of horse owners who are breaking the law.

“The New Mexico Racing Commission has stopped rerouting the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association wallets, and the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association has now decided to spend the riders’ money on legal fees,” said Bregman. “New Mexico horse racing will continue to be successful with or without the New Mexico Horsemen’s Association.”

Gary Mitchell, the association’s attorney, accused the commissioners – appointed by the governor – of deliberately attempting to eliminate the group by preventing members from contributing a share of their stock market profits to the association and distributing the funds and for what change purposes.

“They want to get their hands on that money and use it as they see fit – which is essentially paying for the cost of running the circuit,” said Mitchell, noting that it puts more money into it the route affiliated casinos would flow.

Comments are closed.