Horse house owners say New Mexico regulators have violated civil rights
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (AP) – An organization representing thousands of racehorse owners and trainers has accused New Mexico regulators of violating their civil rights.
The New Mexico Horsemen’s Association announced Tuesday that it is suing the New Mexico Racing Commission in the U.S. District Court, saying it had no other option because the commission had prevented the group and its members from contacting or addressing commissioners attend regular public meetings of the body.
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The commission took action to restrict communications after horse owners sued in December for preventing the commission from using funds to cover operating costs at the state’s five private racing circuits.
The commission also voted earlier this year to forbid club members from donating 1% of their monetary profits to the association and to stop paying starter fees to fund medical expenses and advocacy fees. This led to another lawsuit by the association before the regional court.
The Commission has not commented on any of the pending legal disputes.
Gary Mitchell, the association’s attorney, accused the governor-appointed commissioners of deliberately trying to abolish the horse owners’ association and to change the distribution of wallets and for what purposes.
“They want to get their hands on that money and use it as they see fit – which is essentially paying for the cost of running the circuit,” said Mitchell, noting that it puts more money into it the route affiliated casinos would flow.