OTB pays new boss $1.5M

New York City Off-Track Betting Corporation (NYC OTB), the bankrupt betting parlor operator dumped on the state by Mayor Michael Bloomberg last year, has hired a new CEO – for roughly 10 times more than his predecessor.

The NYC OTB board voted 4-1 on Wednesday, July 7 to hire Greg Rayburn, senior managing director of Palladium Partners, to run their operation, for a reported $125,000 per month, to replace Raymond Casey, who had been paid $175,000 a year. Casey resigned the day before.

Rayburn’s company “is dedicated to executive interim management engagements” for bankrupt companies, including those with “loss of credibility” and an “unviable business model,” according to their web site. He most recently served as the CEO of Magna Entertainment Corporation, restructuring North America’s largest owner of thoroughbred horse tracks and casinos – that was also in trouble according to industry sources.

His name was advanced by NYC OTB chair Larry Schwartz, also “a top advisor” to Governor David Paterson, according to reports.

The lone board vote against the pick came from Douglaston resident Steve Newman, named to the board by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver about a year ago. Newman is the chief operating officer of a $200 million health care nonprofit and served for a number of years as the city’s first deputy comptroller. He also served two years as chair of Community Board 11 until 2009.

“I think the pay is excessive,” Newman told The Queens Courier. “And I don’t see why we have to bring in a corporate expert in restructuring internal operations. The problems with OTB are 10 percent operational and 90 percent structural,” Newman said.

“New York has six OTBs and they’re all in trouble. The formula is they have to pay the government, horse racing entities and the breeders – off the top,” he explained.

“People warned about this when OTB was being created. They have since run up a quarter-billion dollar debt, and no amount of restructuring or economy is going to keep them from losing money as long as the payment scheme is in place.”