It was a sure thing that New York politicians would complain about the annual compensations paid to New York Racing Association president Charlie Hayward and chief operating officer Hal Handel, who reportedly are paid $460,000 and $440,000 per year, respectively. And true to form, Democratic Assemblyman Gary Pretlow chimed in with the following comment to the New York Daily News when the salaries were disclosed in a letter from NYRA to the state's Franchise Oversight Board: “They're running an unprofitable business making exorbitant salaries.”
Running NYRA is no easy task, especially when you are hamstrung by some of the most short-sighted legislators on the American political landscape. Those legislators, along with three New York governors, took nearly 10 years after enabling legislation to name a VLT operator at Aqueduct, a delay that created an enormous economic hardship on the racing association. And the recent controversial appointment of the Aqueduct Entertainment Group to operate the VLT franchise could be held up for the unforeseeable future.
Let's also not forget that it isn't Hayward and Handel's fault the state is facing an $8.2-billion budget deficit.
In NYRA's letter to the Franchise Oversight Board, it was stated that NYRA's two top executives are underpaid in comparison to the association's leading competitors in the racing and gaming world.
The Paulick Report examined Internal Revenue Service Form 990s from 16 different national or state non-profit associations involved in Thoroughbred racing and breeding to see how their executive compensations compare with those reported for NYRA executives. Following is the result of that salary survey. The survey looks strictly at non-profit associations, none of which are engaged in the operation of a racetrack or racing circuit. The compensation listed is base salary without regard to retirement benefits or additional compensation. The salaries reported are for the most recent year available at www.GuideStar.com, which monitors non-profit organizations.
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