Three Directors Resign from VTA Board - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

Three Directors Resign from VTA Board

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Anne Poulson and Ernie Oare, two past Presidents of the Virginia Thoroughbred Association (VTA) and former members of the Virginia Racing Commission, along with Dr. Jens von Lepel , the general manager of 2012 Leading Virginia Breeder, Audley Farm,  have resigned from the Board of Directors of the VTA.  The three long-time Directors resigned following an Executive Session of the organization's Board meeting on June 24, 2013, over the termination of former Executive Director, Glenn Petty.

Noting that their joint resignation was “based on shared principles and values,” the three well known Virginia horsemen, cited “fundamental differences with the Board on proper and acceptable conduct concerning the termination” of Petty who has some 30 year of experience in the Commonwealth's Thoroughbred industry.

Petty was fired on June 3rd after 10 years on the job during his third term as Executive Director.  His ousting occurred at a secret meeting where VTA President, Wayne Chatfield-Taylor, admitted to giving late notice to Oare and Poulson so as not to “tip off” Petty.  The organization gave Petty no formal notification of cause for his firing before or after the June 3 meeting.

The three Directors then requested a full Board meeting be called by the President per the VTA By-laws.  At a sharply debated Executive Session, the three determined they could “no longer support a Board that condones months of covert Executive Committee activities to achieve a predetermined result.”

In addition, all three noted that it was no longer “possible for us to work with a Board that glosses over the manipulation of the By-laws, disregards normal corporate governance procedures, approves the intentional exclusion of directors from fair participation in the process, and demonstrates a lack of respect for and fair dealing with a long-term employee with decades of service to our industry. “

“It is disturbing and disappointing that the Board simply dismisses these activities as 'just business' or 'spilt milk' with no hint of accountability or remorse. We believe that it is truly a dark day when a venerable institution, like the VTA, allows deceit, duplicity, and dishonor to override the principles of due process, fair play, integrity, respect and human decency in order to achieve a 'desired result'.”

Poulson was Chairman of the Virginia Racing Commission (VRC) from 2003 to 2006. A commercial breeder with her husband at Hare Forest Farm in Orange, VA, Poulson  played a key role in passing legislation that legalized Advance Deposit Wagering and the Virginia Racing Task Force which created the model for the summer turf meet at Colonial Downs that it still in use today.

Oare, prominent in racing (both flat and steeplechasing) and horse showing, has served on the VTA Board for over 40 years and was President when the referendum to allow pari-mutuel wagering was passed.  He served on the VRC from 1993 to 2001 and was a commissioner when the long-awaited license was finally awarded paving the way for live racing in the Commonwealth. Oare is still an active owner and trainer, as well as a Director on the Board of the VHBPA and the Virginia Gold Cup.  Oare and Poulson are the only two members of the VTA Board of Directors to have held seats on the VRC.

Von Lepel  is the General Manager of the largest commercial breeding farm in Virginia.  The Berryville-based nursery enjoyed a banner year in 2012 when their homebred, Bodemeister, placed in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.  Audley then sold the Triple Crown performer's half-sister at the Keeneland September sale for the top price for a filly of $1.3 million.  Under von Lepel's direction, Audley  sold Bodemeister's dam, Untouched Talent, to Coolmore for $5 million at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale after topping the Timonium yearling sale with a $300,000 Malibu Moon filly.

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