WHEELING – A greyhound breeder and kennel operator has sued the West Virginia Racing Commission and some of its officials, claiming they have conspired to ostracize him from greyhound racing.
Dean Miner of Wheeling filed his complaint in Ohio Circuit Court against the commission as well as WVRC judges Ralph T. Brehm, Manuel Vidis and Holly O’Hara as well as WVRC Veterinarian Lori Bohenko. West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey also is listed as a defendant, but he isn’t named in the complaint.
Miner says there was a hearing on June 12, 2012, regarding an alleged violation of a Greyhound Racing Rule by Miner and kennel owner Neil Abrahamson. The WVRC alleged that 12 greyhounds were brought into West Virginia on May 9, 2012, to race at Wheeling Island with no health certificates or expired health certificates. The dogs were owned by Miner and his ex-wife Adrienne Miner. He says he believes Bohenko filed the complaint.
During the hearing, Miner says Bohenko, a witness, was allowed to ask questions to Miner and other witnesses questions. Testimony showed that a Wheeling Island Kennel Compound security guard checked all of the paperwork on the dogs, and he allowed the dogs into the compound.
Soon after, the three WVRC defendant judges ruled that Miner was in violation of the rule, but Abrahamson was not. Miner was fined $500, and he appealed the ruling. The next month, WVRC Chairman Joe E. Smith issued a notice of an Aug. 27, 2012, hearing for Miner’s appeal. But Miner says that hearing never occurred. Two years later, then-Chairman Jack Rossi dismissed the ruling against Miner.
Miner claims the judges and Bohenko maliciously and vindictively targeted him in retaliation for other litigation he has against the WVRC “in an attempt to drive him out of the business and ruin him financially.”
“Others in the greyhound racing business deemed plaintiff Dean Miner to be toxic to do business with due to his being harassed by the Racing Commission,” the complaint states.
Miner claims the defendants violated his constitutional due process rights and are guilty of malicious prosecution, interference with existing and prospective business relationships, defamation as well as extreme and outrageous conduct.
He seeks compensatory damages, pre- and post-judgment interest, court costs, attorney fees and other relief. He also seeks punitive damages from the judges and Bohenko.
Miner is being represented by Wheeling attorney Scott C. Brown. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Jason A. Cuomo.
Miner and the WVRC have been in court before. In 2013, Miner settled for nearly $1 million in litigation about his suspended WVRC license. That incident stemmed from a 2007 incident at Tri-State Greyhound Park in Kanawha County, also involving health certificates.
In 2009, former WVRC chairman George T. Sidiropolis sued Miner, accusing him of defamation. And in 2012, Sidiropolis sued Miner, claiming Miner had leaked information regarding a $50,000 bribe requested by Sidiropolis to approve a contract. The jury ruled for Miner after deliberating for just 30 minutes.
Ohio Circuit Court case number: 15-C-222