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NYRA chairman takes leave after press reports in corruption probe

New York Racing Association chairman Anthony Bonomo, seen

New York Racing Association chairman Anthony Bonomo, seen in the paddock area of Belmont Park on April 29, 2015, is taking a leave absence after two months on the job. Photo Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan

ALBANY - After two months on the job, the New York Racing Association chairman appointed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has taken a leave of absence.

Chairman Anthony Bonomo of Manhasset said in a letter to Cuomo Tuesday that he was stepping aside because he did not want to have recent events distract from the ongoing work of NYRA.

The action comes after Monday's release of an indictment against former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and his son, Adam Skelos. Prosecutors charge that Dean Skelos, 67, tried to "monetize" his political power by getting payments and a job for his son from a developer, an environmental firm and a malpractice insurer.

In the case of the malpractice insurer, prosecutors say it gave Adam Skelos, 32, a no-show job and $100,000 in pay and benefits.

Both Dean and Adam Skelos have pleaded not guilty.

The malpractice insurer has not been officially identified, but Roslyn-based Physicians Reciprocal Insurers, which is headed by Bonomo, issued a statement saying it had been contacted in the federal probe and was cooperating with authorities. The company, New York's second-largest malpractice insurer, has not been charged with any wrongdoing.

There was no comment from Cuomo.

Skelos was replaced as Senate majority leader in May by Sen. John Flanagan (R-East Northport).

NYRA operates Aqueduct, Saratoga and Belmont thoroughbred tracks.

Bonomo and his wife, Mary Ellen, own two racing stables, Brooklyn Boyz Racing and MEB Stables.R

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