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February 5, 2013

Horseshoe board won’t allow independent New Albany appointment to board

NEW ALBANY — New Albany City Councilman Scott Blair won’t be seated on the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County Board of Directors because of his independent political party affiliation, board President Mark Seabrook confirmed Monday. 

Horseshoe officials said last month they were reviewing the organization’s bylaws after Blair wasn’t allowed to attend the January board meeting.  He had been appointed to the board by New Albany City Council President Pat McLaughlin at the beginning of the year.

Seabrook said that upon further examination, the board will hold to its tradition that the two city council appointments must consist of one Republican and one Democrat. 

“We checked with legal counsel and the bylaws will stand as written,” said Seabrook, who is the Floyd County Commissioners’ representative on the Horseshoe board. “That’s not to say that somebody couldn’t petition the bylaws to get them changed.” 

The majority of the city council has disagreed with the board’s interpretation of its bylaws. Last month, Councilman Dan Coffey called for McLaughlin’s choices of Blair and Democratic Councilman John Gonder to the board to be ratified. 

He said the bylaws list Republican and Democrat as examples of major political parties, not as the stipulated choices. Coffey threatened in January to take the matter to the Indiana Gaming Commission if the Horseshoe Board didn’t seat Blair. 

He said Monday he will consult with Council Attorney Matthew Lorch before deciding what to do. 

“It seems like the Horseshoe Foundation board has been becoming more and more political,” Coffey said. “It just kind of reaffirms what I’ve heard and what I’ve seen so far.” 

Blair said he and McLaughlin are scheduled to meet with Seabrook about the matter on Friday. 

“I think it’s a form of discrimination,” Blair said of the interpretation of the Horseshoe Foundation’s bylaws. “I think it’s a situation of several people just trying to manipulate something for their own political benefit.” 

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