- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - The West Virginia Racing Commission says appeals hearings for small fines against racetrack personnel are costing the commission thousands of dollars apiece.

Racing commissioners said Tuesday each appeal of track judges’ or stewards’ fines for minor infractions requires the commission to retain a hearing examiner, a court reporter, pay for travel costs and often the cost of the out-of-town meeting space to hold the hearing, reported the Charleston Gazette-Mail (https://bit.ly/1MIvuGy).

The commission also has to pay $140 an hour for Deputy Attorney General Kelli Talbott to represent the commission at hearings. The attorney general’s office is required, by law, to bill agencies at that rate, Talbott said.

“After 20 years in practice, it’s a little embarrassing to say that’s all I get,” said Talbott.

In one case that commissioners discussed, a trainer at Charles Town Raves was fined $500 for an altercation at the track. Costs for his appeal hearing topped $15,000. This included more than $6,000 for the hearing examiner, court reporter, travel expenses and rental of a meeting room. Attorney fees costed $9,000.

Joe Moore, the commission’s acting executive director, called some of the appeals “frivolous.”

“With state revenues and the budget issues the way they are, we’ve got to look at our options a little closer,” he said.

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Information from: The Charleston Gazette-Mail, https://wvgazettemail.com.

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