Monday Briefing: Politics and trouble at the OTB

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | Riverhead resident B.B. Morris holds up a protest sign Friday in front of the Route 58 OTB parlor.

The bankrupt Suffolk OTB is a lesson in what happens when a money-making enterprise is run by political appointees, not qualified experts and businesspeople with experience in a particular field.

Check out the three members of Suffolk OTB’s  board of directors and other top employees. You’ll recognize many as having run failed bids for public office or for their involvement in state and local party committees.

Editor’s note: An employee list that appeared previously in this spot was outdated. Because of this, some names were mistakenly included that should not have been.

• Dominick P. Feeney  (Democrat) Chairman

• Herbert Hemendinger  (Republican) Vice Chairman

• Eddie S. Wynn  (Democrat) Secretary

And these others employees:

• James McManmon (Democrat) Corporate Counsel

• Jeffrey A. Casale   (Democrat) President/CEO

• Anthony Pancella (Republican) Vice President

• David Needham  (Democrat) Chief of Staff, Director of Executive Administration

• Kim Edelstein  (Democrat)  Director of Wagering Operations and Services (Kim Edelstein was married to the nephew of Paul Edelstein, who had previously held the Director of Wagering Operations and Services job, an OTB spokeswoman said.)

For fun, enter each last name into a Suffolk County campaign finance disclosure search box

I would suggest the frequent visitors to the county’s now-shuttered betting parlors, including the one in Riverhead, write these people and demand their resumés. Let them show and tell you why they’re qualified to run a gambling operation. Then write your state representative urging him or her to introduce legislation banning party hacks from OTB front offices. These jobs should be open to all who are qualified for them.

Only when the right people are in place at all levels can the real problems of the racing industry be handled effectively.

• And the political game marches on this Wednesday night, May 11, at the Elk’s Lodge in Riverhead, where the Riverhead Republican Committee is holding its nominating convention for those wishing to hold public office in town. UPDATE: GOP POSTPONE NOMINATIONS We’ll have a team of reporters there, so check our Twitter account @rvhdnewsreview and RiverheadNewsReview.com for updates.

It should be a dramatic night in that a sitting Republican councilman, James Wooten, is hoping to win the nomination over incumbent Supervisor Sean Walter to hold the town’s highest office. Much will have to do with the nominating order, which has not yet been announced.

If the committee chooses the supervisor spot last, and Mr. Wooten had not been nominated for a council seat, he could find himself off the slate entirely.

• And this has to be the most heartwarming slide show we ever posted at RiverheadNewsReview.com. Longtime staff photographer and Polish Town resident Barbarellen Koch caught some really expressive shots at the second annual black tie gala luncheon to benefit Aid to the Developmentally Disabled Inc. We also plan to run photos in the newspaper Thursday.

Hats off to the event organizers at Aid to the Developmentally Disabled, Inc. These people are truly heroes to the human race.

I really don’t think that’s an overstatement.

• Happy belated Mothers Day to all the mothers out there, many of whom include our most loyal readers! My wife and I hosted a barbecue Sunday in our backyard that included our parents, my mom’s two sisters and their husbands and my grandparents.

As far as holidays go, Mothers Day is pretty high profile so we were proud to host our elders. Now onto Thanksgiving! (Well, maybe in a few years.)