Gill loses Pennsylvania suit but says federal indictments coming

by | 10.17.2012 | 1:58pm
Michael Gill

A federal judge has ruled against former Thoroughbred owner Michael Gill and trainer Anthony Adamo in their lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission and several commission employees in a case involving Gill and Adamo's ejection from Penn National racetrack in 2010.

But Gill, a controversial owner who sold his bloodstock after the 2010 incident, predicted a slew of federal indictments will prove that he was railroaded by Penn National “insiders” who were engaging in offshore betting and other illegal activities.

Sylvia H. Rambo, judge in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, ruled in favor of the defendants either because the state employees or commissioners were entitled to qualified immunity from lawsuits or because the claims by Gill and Adamo failed “as a matter of law.” The ruling, issued on Tuesday, came nearly six months after a four-day bench trial in April. It was only in the latter stages of the trial that attorneys for the defendants raised the issue of qualified immunity.

The ejections of Gill and Adamo stemmed from the threat in January 2010 by members of the Penn National jockey colony to boycott races in which Gill-owned horses were entered. The jockeys claimed they were at risk because in their opinion an unusually high number of Gill's horses suffered catastrophic breakdowns at Penn National.

To avoid the boycott the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission's then-executive secretary Michael Dillon sent notices to Gill and Adamo effectively banning them from Penn National. The ejections were not based on specific violations of racing regulations but because their continued participation has “become inconsistent with the orderly conduct of the race meeting and is therefore inconsistent with the best interests of horse racing.”

Adamo appealed his ejection and was reinstated in March 2010. However, Adamo was subsequently notifed to appear before the racing commission for an “investigative interview” and did not comply with the order. The racing commission then suspended his license.

Gill did not appeal his eviction, instead filing suit along with Adamo for having their constitutional rights of due process denied.

In her ruling, Judge Rambo said neither Gill nor Adamo fully exercised the due process rights available to them. She also ruled that Dillon; commission employees Walter Remmert and Joseph Musalko; and commissioners Corinne Sweeney, John Hannum, and Raymond Hamm were entitled to qualified immunity because they believed they were relying on “relevant statutes, regulations, and case law.”

Gill and Adamo also have sued the 31 members of the Penn National jockey colony for interference with business relationships. The ruling by Rambo does not affect that case.

Alan Pincus, attorney for Gill and Adamo, said the court ruling against his clients “does not go to the facts of the case, just the legal issues involved.”

Gill said he planned to appeal while also pursuing his suit against the jockeys. The winner of the 2005 Eclipse Award as outstanding owner in North America said he is “not doing this to make money. Instead, Gill said he plans to prove that his allegations against the jockeys and others engaged in racing at Penn National – made at the time of his eviction and in a subsequent public statement – were true.

Gill told the Paulick Report an FBI investigation of jockeys, jockey agents, trainers, racetrack and Pennsylvania Horse Racing Commission employees will lead to as many as 42 federal indictments. The indictments, Gill said, will involve manipulation of races, offshore gambling, collusion between trainers and test barn personnel, and embezzlement.

“Then we'll see if people will believe what I was saying at the time about all of the corruption at Penn National,” Gill said.

  • Tinky

    Michael Gill pointing out others as “corrupt” – priceless!

  • Juan

    Pennsylvania Horse Racing is a Joke

  • Nucky Thompson

    When the judge is called Rambo , you really are in deep doodoo.

  • Tbhorseman

    Maybe Gill and the crooks at Penn will have to go.  Killing two birds with one stone.

  • Jersey Josh

    What happens if he’s right?

  • Sandra Warren


  • Greg Jones

    Just seeing the photo of the arrogant, cheating, and pompous Gill almost made me lose my lunch Mr. Paulick, photo should have had a warning/disclaimer included with it.  Don’t miss this so-called man at all, good riddance…

  • Hmmm..not so fast Babe, at least they got rid of these two clowns, unlike NYRA with the ongoing Rick Dutrow saga. 

  • Beachy

    I’ve read elsewhere that his bloodstock was “sold”.  To what or to whom?  I’d like to ask him what happened to Geefour, Union Rags’ full brother, among others.  Were I the jockeys I wouldn’t want to ride unsafe horses, either–that puts ALL at risk.  I am so sad for the innocent people and horses mixed up in this…prayers…  

  • NotFBI

    Cole Norman wants his job back :)

  • Jonmax

    I hope whwn everything shakes out Penn National will be exposed as the crookedest track in the country.It’s been that way for many,many,years.

  • Quilla

    Mike, we hardly knew ya.

    XXOO Suffolk Downs

  • Otis

    CREEP….Where Is Geefour?

  • Meyer1127

    Doesn’t matter what others are doing you are accountable for your actions and yours alone.Please get these two out and if the others are found guilty get rid of them also.Probally sold his bloodstock to the nearest kill buyer.

  • File delete incomplete

    Where is the embezzlement?

  • steve_in_pa

    As I remember, a good deal of his stock went to Henry Witt.  I also recall that most of the local riding colony at PN wouldn’t ride for Adamo or Darrel Delahoussaye, Gill’s trainers at the time.  Once Willie Otero stopped riding Mr. Gill’s horses, Adamo had to import riders from other tracks to take his mounts.  DeShawn Parker, Tho Nguyen, and Jareth Loveberry came from Mountaineer, Francisco Garcia, Carlos Diaz, Jose Baez, started showing up just for his mounts.  Even Ricky Frazier came from the West Coast.  To ride in PA.  In the winter.  Local colony knew, they just took too long to speak up.

  • Beachy

     It is so sad, because I would bet that had Geefour been returned to Mrs. Wyeth, she and her staff may have found him a home.  I believe they found a home for Tempo, Union Rags’ dam, after she could no longer breed, at a small farm down the road from the Wyeths’ estate.  If I remember correctly, I heard Mr. Russell Jones, the Wyeths’ bloodstock agent, say this in an interview about a year ago, along with the fact that Tempo is really loved at that farm.  I hope this is true, as I think the more “retired” horses have homes, the better. 

  • Wingtips

    I would love to see Penn Nat management, certain horseman, and commission personnel get carpet bombed with federal indictments.  Long after the stink of Gill and his trainers has evaporated, it remains exhibit A of everything wrong with a racing operation. 

  • Jjvera62

    listening to Gill talk about corrupt people is like listening to the Rev. Al Sharpton talk about the racist right wing G.O.P.

  • Anderson5999

    Many eyewitnesses saw truckloads of his horses leaving the Oxford training he owned to an unknown destination. We can only assume where they were headed.

  • PN regular

    No crooked-er than any other track in this country! I’m a PN regular and have seen way too many of Gill’s horses go down. I’m glad the jockey colony did what they did. Somebody had to do something about Gill, Adamo, and Delahousse

  • Stixnstones42

    The law is abundantly clear that the government (i.e., the Racing Commission) cannot
    confiscate an occupational license without a hearing and a finding of violation.  Remember Howie Jacobson?  The Racing Commission does not have “qualified
    immunity” to deny basic due process rights. This case will be reversed on appeal.

  • Hotrod

    I have followed this story for awhile and re-read the above public statement again.  I am sure the industry media will report the coming federal indictments with the same zeal that they have covered Mr Gill’s departure.  There are many truths in his statements and I have become rather callous to how these gambling operations are allowed to bar anyone from the facilities based on the credo of “in the best interest of racing”.  Please keep us posted on future developments of all parties involved.    

  • Years To Think


  • McGov

    My thoughts exactly…who drew first blood?

  • steve_in_pa

    Knew about that as well.  All I can speak of are those I saw that continued racing, with lines in DRF that said ‘previously trained by Anthony Adamo’.  And of those, most didn’t have much of a subsequent career….

  • Jayne

    Exactly.  Whatever kind of people are operating in Pa.?  It makes the general public’s view of horse racing look ‘spot on’.   Its a shame and needs to be stopped and getting rid of Gill was a good starting point.

  • Howard Stevens

    Mike Gill is not going to win any popularity contests, but he does however suggest some things in his public statement which are more than a little disturbing.  Should they prove to be even partially true it would support the position that he was indeed treated unfairly. 

  • Equine Avenger

    Micheal Gill wasn’t “railroaded”….Gill and his unethical trainers were a HUGE part of racing corruption, including horse abuse, destruction and slaughter.

  • Howard Stevens

    Please…..The Weyeth’s or anyone else for that matter had numerous opportunities to get Geefour back, they could have claimed him out of any of the last six starts of his career.  The truth is no one cared about Union Rags’ brother because Union Rags wasn’t even foaled yet during Geefour’s career.  If they wanted him back, they easily could have gotten him.   

  • fcb

    Looks like Gill was correct.  Lots of folks are nervous at Penn Nat.

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