The chairman of Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, has been accused of receiving kickbacks from ticket “scalpers” in return for getting them Derby tickets, according to ABC affiliate WHAS-TV in Louisville.
Earlier this week, former Churchill Downs Vice President Tom Schneider filed a lawsuit claiming that he was fired because he discovered Chairman Carl Pollard was funneling Derby tickets to brokers for a fee. It was Schneider who was allegedly hired by Churchill Downs in 2003 to “clean up the mess with its derby tickets, to find out where all of them were going,” according to the TV station. No brokers’ names or any secondary marketers were identified.
The lawsuit claims Pollard and others broke the law by falsifying business records, misapplying entrusted property and receiving a bribe. Pollard does play a role in deciding who gets Derby seats, but denies doing anything improper with any of them, according to his attorney (whom the TV station does not name).
The Louisville Courier-Journal newspaper reported that the lawsuit also claims “Pollard slandered Schneider by telling someone that Schneider, who is married, committed adultery with a track employee and ‘is not a good person to trust or associate with’.”
The paper also wrote that Schneider’s complaint says he kept notes about ticketing irregularities, “but those notes are not provided in the complaint.”
A Churchill Downs spokesman told WHAS that the allegations of kickbacks and ticket selling were investigated internally and found to be totally untrue. In a statement, Pollard’s attorney says it never happened: “Carl Pollard flatly denies that he is or has been involved in any improper conduct at Churchill Downs” and that Pollard is “offended by the allegations.”
A quick check of the online secondary market for the May 2 Kentucky Derby shows StubHub having a host of general grandstand tickets from $150 to $1,000, with turf club, clubhouse and suite passes from $1,200 to $5,765. RazorGator ranges from $274 to $11,070 and TicketNetwork, parent company of TicketNews, has seats from $56 to $9,331.