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Integrity talk at USTA

March 23, 2004

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When Harness Tracks of America executive vice president Stan Bergstein addressed the board of directors of the U.S. Trotting Association Monday afternoon (March 22), he thanked them for inviting him to speak, but also lectured them on allowing a man banned from setting foot in a New Jersey casino to be licensed by the USTA.

Bergstein was referring to the case of Richard A. Wojcio, who was convicted of conspiracy to fix a harness racing in New Jersey in 1996. The New Jersey Office of the Attorney General Division of Gaming Enforcement has since issued its own ruling excluding Wojcio.

However, last year the USTA granted Wojcio a license after USTA directors from New Jersey, Luc Ouellette, John Brennan, and Jacqueline Ingrassia, agreed Wojcio should be given a license. Two other directors from New Jersey, Bruce Garland of the Meadowlands and Peter Koch of Freehold Raceway, were not consulted for the decision by the other directors.

With the USTA's blessing on his resume, Wojcio applied to the California Horse Racing Board for a license. He received a California license and has been racing at Cal Expo.

Bergstein, who has always been a staunch supporter of tough action on racing violators, used the following analogies to support his stance: "If you embezzle money from a bank, you're never going to work in the banking industry again, and if you are found guilty of violations as a stockbroker, you're never going to work in that industry again either. People convicted of race fixing should not be allowed back in racing," he said.

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