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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Michican Race Fix Scandal Unravelling?

If you are like me, you may have been wondering where are the indictments from the Michigan race fixing scandal?  After all, back on March 4, 2010, the Michigan State Police and the Michigan Gaming Control Board made a big announcement that they uncovered a race fixing scandal at Hazel Park, Northville Downs and Sports Creek Raceway as well as allegations of possible race fixing at Windsor Raceway in Canada, which being many of these drivers drove there made sense.  A bunch of drivers were suspended along with owners and gamblers were banned for their alleged participation in this scheme or refusing to provide information.  Then we waited for the shoe to drop, and waited, and waited.

Now we know why we have been waiting so long.  The Ontario Racing Commission has reversed its decisions concerning drivers Kevin Wallis (fined $100,000 and suspended 12 years) and Gene Piroski ($100,000 and 10 years) for alleged race fixing at Windsor and the Michigan tracks.  The reason for the reversals?  Lack of evidence on the prosecution's part.  The status of Brad Forward who testified for the prosecution is unknown.  The actual record of the decision has now been made available and if you have the time to read it, you can find it here.

As a result, these two drivers are free to resume driving immediately in Canada and should be able to drive in the United States as Michigan handed down only a six month suspension but it appears they are looking for Michigan to expunge their records as having that suspension on their Michigan record could keep him from driving elsewhere in the United States. 

The status of drivers  John Moody, Don Harmon, Richard Ray, Don Currier Jr, and Wally Mcilmurray Jr who were suspended for not cooperating with the MCGB's investigation is unknown at this time, but if there was no proof in Canada for their two drivers who have been cleared, the possibility of these drivers being cleared is sure to be visited  in the near future.

Well, one can't help but wonder with the ORC is exonerating two of their drivers and Michigan having not indicted anyone yet, is the high profile case collapsing and if collapsing what happened?  Was it a case of overzealous prosecution for reasons unknown?  Was it the case of the wall of silence holding?  Or could they not pin the drivers to the alleged wrong doing? 

A lot of damage has been done to Michigan harness racing.  I think it is time for the MCGB to come out and make a statement as to where the case stands.  It is not fair to keep these drivers hanging.  Either indict or let them walk.  Then it will be up to the individual tracks as to whether they want to exclude them or not.

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