Maker’s apology hits the Mark

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I hope horse racing executives have been paying attention to what’s transpired with the Maker’s Mark bourbon company this past week. It could be a lesson for them. It should be a lesson for all of us when we make mistakes or decisions that turn out to be wrong.

Maker’s Mark said it was going to decrease the alcohol content of its bourbon because of a shortage of supplies used to produce the popular brand of whiskey.

The pushback from consumers was immediate, loud and clear.


So was the reversal of the decision by Chief Operating Officer Rob Samuels and his father, the company’s chairman emeritus, Bill Samuels.

The company posted a profuse apology, signed by father and son, on its website and Facebook page that was picked up worldwide. It read, in part:

“Since we announced our decision last week to reduce the alcohol content (ABV) of Maker’s Mark in response to supply constraints, we have heard many concerns and questions from our ambassadors and brand fans. We’re humbled by your overwhelming response and passion for Maker’s Mark. While we thought we were doing what’s right, this is your brand – and you told us in large numbers to change our decision.

“You spoke. We listened. And we’re sincerely sorry we let you down. …”

Imagine, for a minute, if the New York Racing Association had acted with the sincerity of Maker’s Mark when it announced in December 2011 that it had been overcharging on some exotic bets by 1% for more than a year. Instead of rationalizing about the “complexity of the takeout provisions in the Racing Law” and saying the overcharge was an “unintentional oversight,” since-fired NYRA CEO Charles Hayward could have said simply, “We screwed up. We’re sorry, and we are going to try and make it up to you.” He might even be CEO today if he’d handled things differently when the takeout mistake was discovered.

Similarly, when California officials backed a takeout hike on exotic bets that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2011, many fans revolted with a wagering boycott. Those who pushed the takeout increase through could have said: “You spoke. We listened…” and then reverted to the old takeout.

I was among those who supported the takeout increase in California. I can see now that it was a bad idea, no matter how desperately owners felt the need to inject more revenue from pari-mutuel handle into purses. It was a terrible time to increase prices on consumers.

I was wrong then, and I’m sorry now. Sincerely.

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  • Francis Bush

    Bill Samuels graduated at Bardstown High School a couple of years before I did. What a generous family man and fine Kentuckian. His development of Maker’s Mark continues to attract bourbon drinkers.

  • Francis Bush

    Bill Samuels graduated at Bardstown High School a couple of years before I did. What a generous family man and fine Kentuckian. His development of Maker’s Mark continues to attract bourbon drinkers.

  • Wendy

    This is a great example of a business being open and transparent! They utilized this opportunity to build trust with the consumers! Well done! 

    • Bdwalker123

      I’ll drink to that.

  • Wendy

    This is a great example of a business being open and transparent! They utilized this opportunity to build trust with the consumers! Well done! 

  • Bdwalker123

    I’ll drink to that.

  • Don Reed

    As someone said on CBNC, “I never would have noticed the decrease in the proof.”

    • Kim Howell (Anita Xanax)

      They couldn’t tell Maker’s Mark from moonshine, probably.

  • Don Reed

    As someone said on CBNC, “I never would have noticed the decrease in the proof.”

  • Pedigrees

    any biz making decisions with no concern for their customers is on thin ice – it is simple with me – want my money? do it my way.

  • Pedigrees

    any biz making decisions with no concern for their customers is on thin ice – it is simple with me – want my money? do it my way.

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Thank you for pointing out that honesty is the best way to manage a company. 

  • Sue M. Chapman

    Thank you for pointing out that honesty is the best way to manage a company. 

  • Delrene22

    It has really been interesting following this story from the beginning when Maker’s Mark annnounced the change.  Such public outcry!!!  Lots of tongue and cheek articles and interesting background stories.  I agree.  The owners/family exhibited lots of class in their apology and decision to remain with the original product.   Thanks for the article

  • Delrene22

    It has really been interesting following this story from the beginning when Maker’s Mark annnounced the change.  Such public outcry!!!  Lots of tongue and cheek articles and interesting background stories.  I agree.  The owners/family exhibited lots of class in their apology and decision to remain with the original product.   Thanks for the article

  • Tumbby2

    Well done to Makers Mark. My friend and I keep discussing the fact that there are fewer and fewer people who are honest and accept responsibility for their actions. Most want to lie and deny and pass the blame. It is refreshing to see that there are still some people who conduct themselves with honor and integrity. And as Ray said, the racing industry, from officials to horsemen, should open their eyes and learn something from this.

  • Tumbby2

    Well done to Makers Mark. My friend and I keep discussing the fact that there are fewer and fewer people who are honest and accept responsibility for their actions. Most want to lie and deny and pass the blame. It is refreshing to see that there are still some people who conduct themselves with honor and integrity. And as Ray said, the racing industry, from officials to horsemen, should open their eyes and learn something from this.

  • Gallop

    MM:”I’m going to degrade your product”
    Consumer: “Please don’t”
    MM: “OK”
    C: “Thank you so much”
    MM: “But how am I going to deal with this shortage now. What else am I supposed to do? The issue hasn’t gone away”
    C: “Raise prices I guess, or make less money.”
    MM: “I like option one better…”
    C:”No, No, don’t raise prices on me, make all the middle men eat it”
    MM:”Hmmm, we’ve been doing that for a while, they say they can’t take anymore. What do you suggest?”
    C:”I don’t know, if I was so smart I’d be making it instead of drinking it.”
    MM: “OK, how about I do some stuff that you don’t notice, will that be ok?”
    C:”Yes, I much prefer that.”
    MM:”OK.”

    I left my tumbler to a great marketing scheme.

  • Gallop

    MM:”I’m going to degrade your product”
    Consumer: “Please don’t”
    MM: “OK”
    C: “Thank you so much”
    MM: “But how am I going to deal with this shortage now. What else am I supposed to do? The issue hasn’t gone away”
    C: “Raise prices I guess, or make less money.”
    MM: “I like option one better…”
    C:”No, No, don’t raise prices on me, make all the middle men eat it”
    MM:”Hmmm, we’ve been doing that for a while, they say they can’t take anymore. What do you suggest?”
    C:”I don’t know, if I was so smart I’d be making it instead of drinking it.”
    MM: “OK, how about I do some stuff that you don’t notice, will that be ok?”
    C:”Yes, I much prefer that.”
    MM:”OK.”

    I left my tumbler to a great marketing scheme.

  • ASL

    So many racetracks and their executives are arrogantly non-responsive to consumers.  Kudos for MM for doing the right thing.  Shame on all the racetracks who don’t put consumers first. 

  • ASL

    So many racetracks and their executives are arrogantly non-responsive to consumers.  Kudos for MM for doing the right thing.  Shame on all the racetracks who don’t put consumers first. 

  • Charlie Davis

    “I was among those who supported the takeout increase in California. I can see now that it was a bad idea, no matter how desperately owners felt the need to inject more revenue from pari-mutuel handle into purses. It was a terrible time to increase prices on consumers.”

    Holy crap!  I can’t believe I almost missed that.  Seriously, thanks for saying that.  I think you’re the first one to admit it was a bad idea, in public at least.  

  • Charlie Davis

    “I was among those who supported the takeout increase in California. I can see now that it was a bad idea, no matter how desperately owners felt the need to inject more revenue from pari-mutuel handle into purses. It was a terrible time to increase prices on consumers.”

    Holy crap!  I can’t believe I almost missed that.  Seriously, thanks for saying that.  I think you’re the first one to admit it was a bad idea, in public at least.  

  • John Greathouse

    The time to increase takeout
    IS NEVER
    Lower the dam thing

  • John Greathouse

    The time to increase takeout
    IS NEVER
    Lower the dam thing

  • John Greathouse

    The reason Ray believed
    That raising takeout was a good thing ?
    He believes one can tax their way to prosperity

    • RayPaulick

      Not exactly, John. The economics for owners, as you are aware, are not good, and California owners in particular were the leaving the sport, causing short fields, which naturally leads to declining handle and ever lower purses. The takeout increase (with all of the increase going to fund purses) did help in that regard by increasing purses. So did a reduction in racing days. Field size at Southern California tracks, while not ideal, have stabilized or trended up slightly.

      Nevertheless, considering how weak the economy was at the time, I now believe the takeout hike was ill advised.

      • David Young

        Thay could have did without the takeout increase and just cut days.

      • Indulto

        RP,
        I appreciate your sharing your change of position on this issue. Does this mean you’ll be asking the questions of the TOC and CHRB leadership necessary to get them to modify their positions as well?

      • Nick Kling

         Ray,

        Have you verified the comment from “Charlie Hayward?”  Given the unresolved status of his contract settlement & the NYS investigation into TakeoutGate, I would question if that was really from Charlie.

        • Don Reed

          Come to think of it, I would, as well.

          30 or so years ago, it was standard practice if such a message had been received, for a reporter to make a phone call – to a person whose voice he would recognize – before printing such an item.

          The person making the statement would often anticipate this & provide a soto voce telephone # to call, to confirm an authentic identity.

          Do we do the same today?  

  • John Greathouse

    The reason Ray believed
    That raising takeout was a good thing ?
    He believes one can tax their way to prosperity

  • Nyhorseraceing

    I’m sorry, but most racetracks would never admit they were wrong.

  • RayPaulick

    Not exactly, John. The economics for owners, as you are aware, are not good, and California owners in particular were the leaving the sport, causing short fields, which naturally leads to declining handle and ever lower purses. The takeout increase (with all of the increase going to fund purses) did help in that regard by increasing purses. So did a reduction in racing days. Field size at Southern California tracks, while not ideal, have stabilized or trended up slightly.

    Nevertheless, considering how weak the economy was at the time, I now believe the takeout hike was ill advised.

  • Nyhorseraceing

    I’m sorry, but most racetracks would never admit they were wrong.

  • salthebarber

    Ray, Charles Hayward would have never survived no matter what he said to the customer base. The Governor needed to take over the NYRA for political reasons. I totally agree with the conclusion about the increase in takeout in California. It alway amazes me how the fans are so totally ignored by the officials of racing. It is almost as if parimutuel betting is a privilege and not a consumer product.

  • salthebarber

    Ray, Charles Hayward would have never survived no matter what he said to the customer base. The Governor needed to take over the NYRA for political reasons. I totally agree with the conclusion about the increase in takeout in California. It alway amazes me how the fans are so totally ignored by the officials of racing. It is almost as if parimutuel betting is a privilege and not a consumer product.

  • Charlie Hayward

    Ray,
           One of the issues that we face with the internet is that there is a lot of incorrect information that gets conveyed to the public. However, I do not expect intelligent people such as yourself to be contributing to that incorrect information. First when the inadvertent mistake was discovered, I did apologize to our customers. Second, media reports to the contrary, NYRA’s financial gain from the overcharge was $1.2 million and not $8.6 million that was reported. In fact the total overcharge over the 15 months was $7.4 million most of which accrued to the benefit of NYRA’s simulcast customers. Yes that is a lot of money. So what did we do. As we announced in the press, through a diligent review of our NYRA Rewards accounts and our W2G IRS transactions, we were able to refund over $600,000 of the $1.2 million NYRA overcharge to our customers. In addition, NYRA immediately applied for and received a 2% reduction in the “exotic” takeout rate which was 1% more than we were required to do by law and in addition reduced the Pick 6 takeout by 2% where the law did not require NYRA to do as they were not our of compliance with the law. In any case, I don’t know how this relates to the Maker’s Mark situation but these are the NYRA facts.

           

    • Caroline

      Amazing. Lessons learned from Ray’s piece? Zero. Here is the point. Who among your customers cares what NYRA gained vs. anyone else? What mattered to your customer was what they illegally LOST – the transfer of surplus from takee/customer to taker. Unconditional regret for that might have been a more “in the spirit of the article” response. 

      • SteveG

        We knew that already.  I think Ray’s point was attitudinal rather than arithmetical…

        Mr. Hayward, in his post here, means to mitigate  arithmetically while simultaneously sounding aggrieved for not getting credit for saying sorry…eventually.
          

      • SteveG

        Sorry, Caroline.  I was intending to respond to Jeremy Clemons’ post above yours & hit the wrong button.

        • Caroline

          No problem Steve :)

    • Jeremy Clemons

      Charlie is right that the simulcast/ADW operators ended up with a greater portion of what was overcharged.  How many simulcast/ADW operators made their customers whole?  I know TwinSpires.com did.  

      http://www.paulickreport.com/news/the-biz/twinspires-com-credits-players-impacted-by-new-york-s-incorrect-takeout-rates/

    • RayPaulick

      Thanks, Charlie, for responding. I am aware of your mea culpa Racing Form interview, but was quoting from the official press release from NYRA that went to all media. That was not an apology.

    • salthebarber

      I don’t know about the other ADWs, but Twinspires credited my account along with its other customers for the amount that was overcharged.

    • Tinky

      “First when the inadvertent mistake was discovered, I did apologize to our customers.”

      Emails between Charlie and Steven Crist that have been published clearly contradict this claim. Many months elapsed before the “mistake” was acknowledged. 

      Furthermore, and more importantly, they demonstrate that for political reasons, NYRA continued to overcharge customers for several months after the mistake was “discovered”.

      Hello??

      • salthebarber

        Tinky, first of all, since the Inspector General’s report continues to be held up, we can only go by limited information. If I remember correctly Hayward told Crist he was looking into what to do next next. Hayward supposedly sent an email to the NYSRWB asking them for the go-ahead and how to implement this change. When he got no response he took it mean that the NYSRWB did not want to implement the change. Subsequently, the NYSRWB said the spam filter ate the email. What is needed is a more complete explanation as to what really happened. That is being held up by the government at this time for whatever reason.

        • Tinky

          Sal,

          It is fair to point out that we do not have all of the facts of the case. However, let me refresh your memory. Below is Charlie’s email response to Steven Crist, in which he refers to the man who had originally brought the problem to the latter’s attention.

          “This gentlemen [sic] is correct. Off the record, we have been working on this for some time. We originally had thought that we would announce this for Saratoga but political forces intervened. Since we are showing substantial losses in 2010 and 2011 and we have been smacked around by Cuomo (and he could check the SRWB from approving), we decided to wait. Also, the regional OTBs who collectively lost money in 2010 will scream like stuck pigs and that would provoke Skelos who is very tight with the guys who run Nassau OTB to introduce anti-NYRA legislation for the benefit of the OTBs. Finally, we are quietly working on a plan to open 10 or so restaurant/bars in the city and we did not want the politicos to block this effort.” 

          So, not only did Hayward admit that NYRA was breaking the law, but he spelled out several very political reasons why he chose to conceal the matter from the public for months. How is this in any way consistent with his above claim?

          • salthebarber

            Tinky, the proof you present is convincing. I am not a crime solver, but I don’t know what the timeline was when Charles Hayward thought he had a “no” from the NYSRWB. One other point is that I read somewhere that the Inspector General has declared that there was no crime committed in this incident. I suspect the above letter came from the Interim Report issued by the NYSRWB who were implicated in this whole incident as well. This is why an independent look at it was needed and carried out. Why this IG report has not been made public is beyond me.

    • Don Reed

      Charlie, if the news accounts are correct, you’re currently in court suing NYRA.  You really should be silent until that’s all over with, allowing, instead, your lawyer to represent you.

      For example, he or she would have added to the above the exact dates on which various things that you say occurred, did occur – strengthening your case.  

      Let the pros do it.

      “Second, media reports to the contrary, NYRA’s financial gain from the overcharge was $1.2 million and not $8.6 million that was reported.”

      Ray, did the Paulick report ever receive this information from NYRA in such blunt terms, before or after Mr Hayward was dismissed by NYRA?  If so, when?  I don’t recall any such information being publicized. 

      I definitely would have remembered a publicized, disputed $7.4 million dollar difference in financial gain as the result of the overcharge.  This is a HUGE discrepancy.

      • salthebarber

        Don, I read this in many places. I am sure Ray read it as well. It was mentioned many times that most of the money went to the ADWs and not the NYRA.

        • Don Reed

          Thanks for the advice, appreciated.

          • salthebarber

            I am just glad you didn’t ask for references. :)

    • Eric

      why wasn’t the remaining $600,000 returned to horseplayers in some form?

    • Smokey Glacken

      And now, how much closer are we, to seeing those politicians heavily implicated in the Aqueduct Entertainment Group bid-rigging casino scam, like Sampson, Meeks, Smith, Paterson, and Silver finally get indicted?

      “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

                                                      Abraham Lincoln

  • Charlie Hayward

    Ray,
           One of the issues that we face with the internet is that there is a lot of incorrect information that gets conveyed to the public. However, I do not expect intelligent people such as yourself to be contributing to that incorrect information. First when the inadvertent mistake was discovered, I did apologize to our customers. Second, media reports to the contrary, NYRA’s financial gain from the overcharge was $1.2 million and not $8.6 million that was reported. In fact the total overcharge over the 15 months was $7.4 million most of which accrued to the benefit of NYRA’s simulcast customers. Yes that is a lot of money. So what did we do. As we announced in the press, through a diligent review of our NYRA Rewards accounts and our W2G IRS transactions, we were able to refund over $600,000 of the $1.2 million NYRA overcharge to our customers. In addition, NYRA immediately applied for and received a 2% reduction in the “exotic” takeout rate which was 1% more than we were required to do by law and in addition reduced the Pick 6 takeout by 2% where the law did not require NYRA to do as they were not our of compliance with the law. In any case, I don’t know how this relates to the Maker’s Mark situation but these are the NYRA facts.

           

  • David Young

    Thay could have did without the takeout increase and just cut days.

  • David Young

    I don’t know what is worse the Cal.takeout increase or the fact that tracks with Slots won’t lower the takeout to bring new customers In.

  • David Young

    I don’t know what is worse the Cal.takeout increase or the fact that tracks with Slots won’t lower the takeout to bring new customers In.

  • Caroline

    Amazing. Lessons learned from Ray’s piece? Zero. Here is the point. Who among your customers cares what NYRA gained vs. anyone else? What mattered to your customer was what they illegally LOST – the transfer of surplus from takee/customer to taker. Unconditional regret for that might have been a more “in the spirit of the article” response. 

  • Jeremy Clemons

    Charlie is right that the simulcast/ADW operators ended up with a greater portion of what was overcharged.  How many simulcast/ADW operators made their customers whole?  I know TwinSpires.com did.  

    http://www.paulickreport.com/n

  • http://twitter.com/BombsawayBob Bombsaway Bob Grant

    Kudos Ray on changing your position on finding optimum pricing of bets. The California Pick-5 explosion has proven that bettors will respond to fair value, & the Churn from higher payouts only helps tracks/ADWs long-term.
    Imagine what a Fifty Cent Pick-5 with a 15% Takeout on races 3-7 @Saratoga would create in NEW REVENUE (IMO,+$300,000) while not interfering in NYRA’s current race betting menu (P4′s/P6/G.Slam.)

  • http://twitter.com/BombsawayBob Bombsaway Bob Grant

    Kudos Ray on changing your position on finding optimum pricing of bets. The California Pick-5 explosion has proven that bettors will respond to fair value, & the Churn from higher payouts only helps tracks/ADWs long-term.
    Imagine what a Fifty Cent Pick-5 with a 15% Takeout on races 3-7 @Saratoga would create in NEW REVENUE (IMO,+$300,000) while not interfering in NYRA’s current race betting menu (P4′s/P6/G.Slam.)

  • Indulto

    RP,
    I appreciate your sharing your change of position on this issue. Does this mean you’ll be asking the questions of the TOC and CHRB leadership necessary to get them to modify their positions as well?

  • RayPaulick

    Thanks, Charlie, for responding. I am aware of your mea culpa Racing Form interview, but was quoting from the official press release from NYRA that went to all media. That was not an apology.

  • SteveG

    We knew that already.  I think Ray’s point was attitudinal rather than arithmetical…

    Mr. Hayward, in his post here, means to mitigate  arithmetically while simultaneously sounding aggrieved for not getting credit for saying sorry…eventually.
      

  • SteveG

    Sorry, Caroline.  I was intending to respond to Jeremy Clemons’ post above yours & hit the wrong button.

  • Caroline

    No problem Steve :)

  • salthebarber

    I don’t know about the other ADWs, but Twinspires credited my account along with its other customers for the amount that was overcharged.

  • Mm4e

    Well, I guess its nice that you have seen the error of your ways, but how you could support an additional burden on an already victimized, yes that’s the word, clientele , is a bit of a mystery.

     Takeouts are confiscatory. They need to be lowered.

  • Mm4e

    Well, I guess its nice that you have seen the error of your ways, but how you could support an additional burden on an already victimized, yes that’s the word, clientele , is a bit of a mystery.

     Takeouts are confiscatory. They need to be lowered.

  • Garrett Redmond

    Ray,

    A recent issue in The Lane Report had an article about the growth in Bourbon sales.
    Bourbon has brought in many more drinkers and lots more money to Kentucky.
    On reading it, my first thought was the Bourbon industry leaders would turn around the Thoroughbred business.

    Bourbon is succeeding because it has leaders.
    Thoroughbred business is dying because it is without leadership.

    • RayPaulick

      Welcome back, Garrett. Great to hear from you again.

    • Don Reed

      Bourbon is succeeding because it has customers.

      T-Biz lost their customers, prompting more drinking.

  • Garrett Redmond

    Ray,

    A recent issue in The Lane Report had an article about the growth in Bourbon sales.
    Bourbon has brought in many more drinkers and lots more money to Kentucky.
    On reading it, my first thought was the Bourbon industry leaders would turn around the Thoroughbred business.

    Bourbon is succeeding because it has leaders.
    Thoroughbred business is dying because it is without leadership.

  • Jerry

    RAY:

    IT’S NO SURPRISE TO ME THAT YOU WERE WRONG BECAUSE YOU WERE JUST FOLLOWING “INSTRUCTIONS FROM YOUR ADVERTISERS” RATHER THEN THINKING ABOUT THE REAL EFFECT OF A HIGHER TAKEOUT…………..DON’T EXPECT THE FOOLS AT THE TOC AND CHRB TO EVER LISTEN TO ANYONE BECAUSE AS LONG AS THE “SUCKERS” ARE STILL WAGERING, THEY WILL KEEP TAKING THEIR MONEY!!!!!!!THE SIMPLE SOLUTION IS TO—————————-S T O P   W A G E R I N G    O N   C A L I F O R N I A   H O R S E R A C E S !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT’S THE ONLY MESSAGE THEY WILL UNDERSTAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • RayPaulick

      Jerry,
      Following your logic to its natural conclusion, then, my change of heart was predicated by new instructions from advertisers who also believe it was a mistake? Which advertisers have changed their position, and what advertisers are you talking about in the first place?

      • Don Reed

        Aw, c’mon, Ray, confess.  The advertisers change positions every 30 minutes.  It’s why we see so many adds on TV! 

        All part of The Big Bad Media Conspiracy, about to be exposed forever by the fearless BIG CAPS TYPISTS!!!

  • Jerry

    RAY:

    IT’S NO SURPRISE TO ME THAT YOU WERE WRONG BECAUSE YOU WERE JUST FOLLOWING “INSTRUCTIONS FROM YOUR ADVERTISERS” RATHER THEN THINKING ABOUT THE REAL EFFECT OF A HIGHER TAKEOUT…………..DON’T EXPECT THE FOOLS AT THE TOC AND CHRB TO EVER LISTEN TO ANYONE BECAUSE AS LONG AS THE “SUCKERS” ARE STILL WAGERING, THEY WILL KEEP TAKING THEIR MONEY!!!!!!!THE SIMPLE SOLUTION IS TO—————————-S T O P   W A G E R I N G    O N   C A L I F O R N I A   H O R S E R A C E S !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT’S THE ONLY MESSAGE THEY WILL UNDERSTAND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • roger

    The fundamental business problem for California Racing is simply that the TOC has too much power.  When the owner of a CA racetrack can’t set his/her OWN takeout rates…..problems arise.

  • roger

    The fundamental business problem for California Racing is simply that the TOC has too much power.  When the owner of a CA racetrack can’t set his/her OWN takeout rates…..problems arise.

  • Tinky

    “First when the inadvertent mistake was discovered, I did apologize to our customers.”

    Emails between Charlie and Steven Crist that have been published clearly contradict this claim. Many months elapsed before the “mistake” was acknowledged. 

    Furthermore, and more importantly, they demonstrate that for political reasons, NYRA continued to overcharge customers for several months after the mistake was “discovered”.

    Hello??

  • RayPaulick

    Jerry,
    Following your logic to its natural conclusion, then, my change of heart was predicated by new instructions from advertisers who also believe it was a mistake? Which advertisers have changed their position, and what advertisers are you talking about in the first place?

  • RayPaulick

    Welcome back, Garrett. Great to hear from you again.

  • Nick Kling

     Ray,

    Have you verified the comment from “Charlie Hayward?”  Given the unresolved status of his contract settlement & the NYS investigation into TakeoutGate, I would question if that was really from Charlie.

  • Stanley inman

    Ray,
    Using NYRA’s high jinks
    To high light
    the high road
    Followed by hayward’s comment
    & your followup
    fascinating Live theatre
    Bravo

  • Stanley inman

    Ray,
    Using NYRA’s high jinks
    To high light
    the high road
    Followed by hayward’s comment
    & your followup
    fascinating Live theatre
    Bravo

  • Kim Howell (Anita Xanax)

    They couldn’t tell Maker’s Mark from moonshine, probably.

  • Don Reed

    “Cops Laughing About Unnecessary Robbery”

    “The police received a tip that the Parx casino robber stole the chips so that he could afford to pay the inevitable rise in price of the remaining unwatered-down bourbon – not hearing that the company had reversed their policy and will now keep all products at their previous proof levels, and presumably, at their pre-faux pas price levels.”

  • Don Reed

    “Cops Laughing About Unnecessary Robbery”

    “The police received a tip that the Parx casino robber stole the chips so that he could afford to pay the inevitable rise in price of the remaining unwatered-down bourbon – not hearing that the company had reversed their policy and will now keep all products at their previous proof levels, and presumably, at their pre-faux pas price levels.”

  • Don Reed

    Aw, c’mon, Ray, confess.  The advertisers change positions every 30 minutes.  It’s why we see so many adds on TV! 

    All part of The Big Bad Media Conspiracy, about to be exposed forever by the fearless BIG CAPS TYPISTS!!!

  • Don Reed

    Charlie, if the news accounts are correct, you’re currently in court suing NYRA.  You really should be silent until that’s all over with, allowing, instead, your lawyer to represent you.

    For example, he or she would have added to the above the exact dates on which various things that you say occurred, did occur – strengthening your case.  

    Let the pros do it.

    “Second, media reports to the contrary, NYRA’s financial gain from the overcharge was $1.2 million and not $8.6 million that was reported.”

    Ray, did the Paulick report ever receive this information from NYRA in such blunt terms, before or after Mr Hayward was dismissed by NYRA?  If so, when?  I don’t recall any such information being publicized. 

    I definitely would have remembered a publicized, disputed $7.4 million dollar difference in financial gain as the result of the overcharge.  This is a HUGE discrepancy.

  • salthebarber

    Tinky, first of all since the Inspector General’s report continues to be held up, we can only go by limited information. If I remember correctly Hayward told Crist he was looking into what to do next next. Hayward supposedly sent an email to the NYSRWB asking them for the go-ahead and how to implement this change. When he got no response he took it mean that the NYSRWB did not want to implement the change. Subsequently, the NYSRWB said the spam filter ate the email. What is need is a more complete explanation as to what really happened. That is being held up by the government at this time for whatever reason.

  • salthebarber

    Don, I read this in many places. I am sure Ray read it as well. It was mentioned many times that most of the money went to the ADWs and not the NYRA.

  • Realestate

    Ray, I think you should take an upper level management position in racing…..I sincerely think you would help the industry!

  • Realestate

    Ray, I think you should take an upper level management position in racing…..I sincerely think you would help the industry!

  • Don Reed

    Bourbon is succeeding because it has customers.

    T-Biz lost their customers, prompting more drinking.

  • Don Reed

    Thanks for the advice, appreciated.

  • David

    Maybe infected with too much history but has it occurred to anyone
    the whole MM thing was and is orchestrated by an individual who is likely a far
    better marketer than as a rocket scientist?   Perhaps the credit here
    should go to a keen insight into public persona and less to being so customer driven.  Just ‘sayin.

  • Don Reed

    Come to think of it, I would, as well.

    30 or so years ago, it was standard practice if such a message had been received, for a reporter to make a phone call – to a person whose voice he would recognize – before printing such an item.

    The person making the statement would often anticipate this & provide a soto voce telephone # to call, to confirm an authentic identity.

    Do we do the same today?  

  • David

    Maybe infected with too much history but has it occurred to anyone
    the whole MM thing was and is orchestrated by an individual who is likely a far
    better marketer than as a rocket scientist?   Perhaps the credit here
    should go to a keen insight into public persona and less to being so customer driven.  Just ‘sayin.

  • Tinky

    Sal,

    It is fair to point out that we do not have all of the facts of the case. However, let me refresh your memory. Below is Charlie’s email response to Steven Crist, in which he refers to the man who had originally brought the problem to the latter’s attention.

    “This gentlemen [sic] is correct. Off the record, we have been working on this for some time. We originally had thought that we would announce this for Saratoga but political forces intervened. Since we are showing substantial losses in 2010 and 2011 and we have been smacked around by Cuomo (and he could check the SRWB from approving), we decided to wait. Also, the regional OTBs who collectively lost money in 2010 will scream like stuck pigs and that would provoke Skelos who is very tight with the guys who run Nassau OTB to introduce anti-NYRA legislation for the benefit of the OTBs. Finally, we are quietly working on a plan to open 10 or so restaurant/bars in the city and we did not want the politicos to block this effort.” 

    So, not only did Hayward admit that NYRA was breaking the law, but he spelled out several very political reasons why he chose to conceal the matter from the public for months. How is this in any way consistent with his above claim?

  • salthebarber

    I am just glad you didn’t ask for references. :)

  • salthebarber

    Tinky, the proof you present is convincing. I am not a crime solver, but I don’t know what the timeline was when Charles Hayward thought he had a “no” from the NYSRWB. One other point is that I read somewhere that the Inspector General has declared that there was no crime committed in this incident. I suspect the above letter came from the Interim Report issued by the NYSRWB who were implicated in this whole incident as well. This is why an independent look at it was needed and carried out. Why this IG report has not been made public is beyond me.

  • Eric

    why wasn’t the remaining $600,000 returned to horseplayers in some form?

  • Smokey Glacken

    And now, how much closer are we, to seeing those politicians heavily implicated in the Aqueduct Entertainment Group bid-rigging casino scam, like Sampson, Meeks, Smith, Paterson, and Silver finally get indicted?

    “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”

                                                    Abraham Lincoln

  • Greg Hamlin

    Ray, I disagree that Charles Hayward would be around today if he had simply said, “I’m sorry.”  He was fired by the NYRA board, which saw it as a way to protect the franchise. 

    Apologizing or not in NYRA’s case was a Hobson’s Choice, with state takeover the inevitable conclusion.

  • Greg Hamlin

    Ray, I disagree that Charles Hayward would be around today if he had simply said, “I’m sorry.”  He was fired by the NYRA board, which saw it as a way to protect the franchise. 

    Apologizing or not in NYRA’s case was a Hobson’s Choice, with state takeover the inevitable conclusion.

  • HelenBach

    The CHRB should require that one bottle of Maker’s Mark be given away for each first winning ticket.  Drunk gamblers bet more.

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