Guild’s Finances Cluttered

Times Staff Writer

The troubled Jockeys’ Guild released results of a preliminary financial review Thursday that suggested “an apparent pattern of increasing fiscal neglect extending for at least the past 18 months.”

The Monrovia-based labor group also reported that its recently ousted management team appeared to have “inappropriately” used $2.1 million in guild funds to cover daily operating costs and pay health insurance claims.

Perhaps the most alarming news for guild members was that $442,000 earmarked for individual savings accounts apparently was used to cover operating costs and pay medical expenses.


The guild’s new management team said the organization has enough money to cover operations, but isn’t able to immediately return the money to jockeys’ accounts. Darrell Haire, the guild’s interim national manager, said in a statement that the organization “will have to set aside funds to restore the riders’ money.”

The guild, which has been rocked by internal dissension, last month terminated the contracts of President L. Wayne Gertmenian and Chief Operating Officer Albert Fiss. The two men were replaced by a management team lead by Haire, a long-time jockey. Mitchell Egers, an attorney who represents Gertmenian, had not seen the guild release, but said his client did nothing irresponsible.

The review suggested that a healthcare account that is supposed to hold enough money to cover 2 1/2 months of claims is nearly depleted. The fund balance fell to $6,029 on Oct. 30, down from $860,000 in April 2004. The review suggested that the recently ousted management team added to the fund’s problems by allowing select jockeys to maintain health insurance despite falling behind on payments.

The review also determined that some utility bills, rent payments and other obligations were not met in recent months, and that various bank statements haven’t been reconciled in several months.