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Racing Commission shakeup: new chair, board member, interim director named by governor

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The Associated Press reports that Gov. Mark Dayton has appointed a new chairman to the Minnesota Racing Commission, but is keeping Jesse Overton, the controversial previous chairman, on as in the role of board member.

Overton has been on the commission's board for four years, the last couple as its chairman. The department confirmed last week that Overton was under investigation, but didn't identify the nature of the probe or say when it would finish.

KSTP reported that an employee filed a discrimination complaint against Overton last year. The station reported that Mary Manney, assistant executive director for Racing Commission, resigned last week. Manney’s attorney tells the station she has asked Gov. Mark Dayton to not reappoint Overton to a new term as chairman.

Gov. Dayton also appointed Thomas DiPasquale as a board member and named Kristin Batson from the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget as interim executive director until a new director takes office.

MinnPost pointed out that Strangis was a legal adviser to the Minnesota Twins when they were seeking the new downtown stadium. In his statement about the appointment, Dayton said. Strangis's experience was 'invaluable' and went on to 'strongly urge all of the Commission's board members and staff to give him their full cooperation.'

The racing commission oversees Minnesota's two horse racing tracks, which are also home to poker and card game clubs. Gambling at the two venues brings in more than $100 million a year and employs more than 1,000 people.

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