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Minn. Racing Commission Ex-Chair Leaves Board

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(credit: Canterbury Park/Facebook)

(credit: Canterbury Park/Facebook)

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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — The former chairman of the Minnesota Racing Commission stepped down entirely from the agency Tuesday, less than a week after being cleared of allegations he discriminated against and harassed a female employee because of her gender.

Jesse Overton confirmed that he submitted a letter of resignation Tuesday to Gov. Mark Dayton’s office. Dayton had reappointed Overton to the commission last week, but replaced him as chairman.

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

Overton said he was upset that an investigative report clearing him of harassment and discrimination charges appeared to have been finished several months ago but not publicly released until last week. The report, which was dated March 1, found that Overton may have had a “personality conflict” with the woman leveling charges against him but said he did not single her out or interfere with her job.

“I thought it was disingenuous of the governor to have a report that vindicated me, and to sit on it for four months and watch the press destroy my professional reputation,” Overton said.

Dayton’s spokesman, Bob Hume, said the report was released “at the moment it was ready to be released.”

Last week, Hume said the governor was not apprised of the report’s findings prior to his decision to reappoint Overton. Officials had confirmed that Overton was being investigated, but the nature of the probe was not revealed.

Overton had been on the commission for four years, the last few as chairman. Commission members don’t earn a state salary but can claim a $55 allowance for days they work on board business.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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