Bill White, president of the Florida Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association since March 2015, has resigned from the organization's board of directors, Florida HBPA executive director Glen Berman confirmed on Thursday.
White's resignation from the board automatically ended his term as president. Owner director Stephen Screnci, an attorney who had been serving as the Florida HBPA's 1st vice president, becomes president of the organization, with Chester Bishop moving from 2nd to 1st vice president and Kathy Davey becoming 2nd vice president. Joan Rose Needell assumes White's seat on the board, which is scheduled to run through March 2019, Berman said.
Berman said White's letter of resignation stated, “In June I moved to Central Florida and I have found it to be increasingly difficult to effectively serve after this relocation.”
Berman said the resignation came after an Oct. 26 board meeting, during which there were “some contentious issues.”
Carlo Vaccarezza, a past Florida HBPA board member and an owner-breeder-trainer, said he brought to the board meeting a petition with 150 signatures of people who wanted White off the board because he did not qualify as an owner or trainer. One of South Florida's most successful horsemen – he was leading trainer at Calder for eight consecutive years, from 1997-2004 – White gave up training when he was elected Florida HBPA president. According to Vaccarezza, White has not owned a horse since Dec. 31, 2014.
“From that day forward he hasn't owned or trained a horse,” Vaccarezza said. 'He tried to make a deal with the devil, Marcus Vitali, to put him in on as part owner of some horses, but that didn't happen. This is the guy who is going to negotiate on behalf of all the owners, and he has no skin in the game? It's absolutely wrong. It makes no sense. He wasn't qualified.”
Berman said the transition to a new president should be smooth.
“Stephen Screnci has been head of our Contract Committee the last couple of years and this is the time of year when we start contract negotiations with Gulfstream Park,” Berman said. “Chester is the chairman of our Legislative Committee, and he's been with Bill and me on our visits to Tallahassee. Daryl Clark (Florida HBPA treasurer) is chair of our Breeder Liaison Committee and is actively in discussion with breeders on breed issues.”
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