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February 5, 2013

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



The Horseshoe Foundation board consists of the mayor of New Albany, two city council members, a county commissioner, the general manager of the Horseshoe Casino of Southern Indiana and two of their designees. 

The organization has about $21 million in casino funds to spend, however the Horseshoe Foundation is committed to a $1 million annual payment for the Floyd County branch of the YMCA of Southern Indiana for nine more years. 

Recently Mayor Jeff Gahan requested grant funding for a New Albany aquatic center and a Little League facility. Blair said there are big-ticket items the city would like funding for yet, others on the Horseshoe Board are reluctant to change the body’s spending policies. 

“Let’s face it, it’s about who controls the funding, and what projects get funded,” Blair said. 

He believes that if the city challenges the bylaws to a higher authority, New Albany will likely win out. Blair said his constituents elected him in part to ensure good stewardship of public funding and that he feels it’s important to pursue the appointment to be a good representative for his constituents. 

He added he’s also representing the council on the body, and that he’s appreciative of that distinction and doesn’t want to see it jeopardized over political purposes. 

Seabrook said the decision is not personal, but a move made to adhere to the Horseshoe Foundation’s bylaws. He referenced an eight-year period when he was the only Republican on the Horseshoe board, and said it’s just a matter of following regulations. 

The only Republican member of the nine-person city council is Kevin Zurschmiede. The Horseshoe Foundation hasn’t confirmed what would happen if the council consisted only of Democrats. 

“The State of Indiana does not even recognize independent as a party because independent simply means that you do not belong to a party,” Seabrook said. 

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