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Five Horsemen to Remove Equipment from Charles Town Races and Slots After Losing Case

On September 11th, 2008, at least 5 horsemen will have to remove their horses and equipment from some, if not all of their stalls at the Charles Town Races and Slots after a judge denied issuing a temporary restraining order in a dispute regarding stable agreements. Lawyers for the Charles Town Horsemen's Benevolent Protective Association(HBPA) and Penn National Gaming Incorporated, which owns the racing track, confirmed that the 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge David H. Sanders made the decision during a hearing in Jefferson County Circuit. The decision arises from the civil case filed against the Charles Town Races and Slots this week by lawyer David M. Hammer on behalf of Tina Mawing, George Yetsook, Lynn Venham, Robert Bir, John Milton and the Charles Town HBPA, which represents the horsemen.

Hammer is alleging that the HBPA members that he is representing were stripped of their stalls at the racing track with due process and without any chance to appeal their case after they have received a hand delivered notice on August 29th, 2008 telling them that they have to leave this day. Lawyer Brian M. Peterson, who represented the Charles Town Races and Slots at the hearing, confirmed that the racing track extended the deadline but disagreed with Hammer's arguments that Mawing was being targeted personally because of her testimony before a West Virginia Racing Commission proceeding involving Charles Town HBPA president Raymond J. "Randy" Funkhouser.

Hammer alleges in his civil action that the racing track was also inspired to discriminate against Mawing for voicing concerns to a number of racing official and the state governor about the use of powdered rodent poisoning around the area of her barn. Hammer said that reductions imposed on Yetsook also were believed to be connected with his testimony in the Racing Commission hearing. Funkhouser declined to commented on the ruling of the court.

Peterson said that he has not filed a response on behalf of the racing track but said that the reduction in stalls were only a part of the periodic review process. He also confirmed that there were about 140 vacant stalls at the racing track, not including the stall reductions about to be enforced. Hammer commented that the Charles Town Races and Slots is contracted with the Charles Town HBPA to hold 1,148 horse stalls for the horsemen group's members.


Monday, 06 October 2008
Cindy Alfonso