A Marion County circuit judge is giving a statewide racehorse owners group 20 days to explain why it shouldn’t be ordered to consider changing the way it operates.
The “order to show cause” was entered against The Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association on Friday. It is based in Ocala, informally known as “Horse Capital of the World.”
Horse trainer Adolfo Exposito sued the association after it refused to put eight changes to its bylaws up for a vote at its membership meeting, set for this Thursday.
The proposed changes are backed by what the Ocala StarBanner has called a “dissident group” of nearly 60 members.
They involve, among other things, making the association pay out more “incentive awards and payments” to its members instead of keeping the money, and capping total employee compensation at $500,000 per year.
Critics say association CEO Lonny Powell alone was paid $388,478 in salary and benefits in 2015, which they have called “excessive.” A request for comment was left for Powell Monday morning.
The dissidents include David Romanik, a co-owner of Gretna Racing. An eagerly anticipated state Supreme Court ruling in his favor could result in the single biggest gambling expansion in the state.
The justices were asked to decide if counties are empowered under the constitution and state law to decide for themselves whether to allow slot machines.