Report clears former Racing Commission Chair

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An investigative report from March cleared the embattled former chair of the Minnesota Racing Commission of allegations that he harassed and discriminated against a female employee.

The report was provided Wednesday to The Associated Press. It found that Jesse Overton treated all employees the same, and did not single out the unnamed woman due to her gender.

This week, Gov. Mark Dayton reappointed Overton to the Racing Commission, but he was replaced as its chairman by attorney Ralph Strangis. Dayton was not apprised of the report’s findings prior to his decision, a spokesman said. There have been several recent high profile resignations at the Commission.

According to the investigative report, the woman who raised the allegations was placed on paid administrative leave from September to January due to a separate misconduct probe. The woman claimed Overton had been treating her unfairly over the years, culminating with her being placed on leave. The report found that while Overton has a different management style compared to prior chairmen, but did not single out the woman or interfere with her ability to do her job.

The Racing Commission oversees Minnesota’s two horse racing tracks, which also are home to poker and card game clubs.

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