Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission, in case of In Re: Karl S. Korte, No. 85-042.
Sanford S. Finder, Finder, Allison, Olschock & Graham, for petitioner.
John B. Hannum, Jr., with him, John W. Schreck, for respondent.
Judges Craig, Doyle and Barry, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Craig.
[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 118]
Karl S. Korte appeals an order of the State Horse Racing Commission denying him a license as a jockey. The commission found that Korte's previous conduct in his professional associations, his departure from the United States, and his failure to seek a commission investigatory hearing in a timely manner justified denial of the license as a matter of law. We reverse.
The two primary issues on appeal are (1) whether the commission could properly rule that the denial of a license was in the best interest of racing without making specific negative findings regarding Korte's experience, character and general fitness, and (2) whether the commission's ruling was supported by substantial evidence.
[ 112 Pa. Commw. Page 119]
The commission's findings establish all of the facts here recited:
Korte had been a jockey most of his professional life, licensed in Pennsylvania since the late 1960's. While Korte was racing for trainer Eugene Zeek, Korte lived in Zeek's home during the latter part of 1973, a period during which a Mr. Poleto from New York City was also staying there. Late in 1973, Korte learned that Poleto had been involved in the killing of Joseph Gallo in New York City, and that Zeek was planning to pass bad checks totaling over one million dollars at three Pennsylvania racetracks. Poleto and Zeek told Korte that he was going to have to accompany them out of the country. Zeek threatened Korte, saying that both his life and that of his daughter would be in danger if Korte did not leave the United States. Korte departed for Grenada with Zeek and Poleto on December 31, 1973.
When Korte failed to fulfill a riding obligation on December 31, a fifty dollar fine was assessed against him. Later, after his stay in Grenada, Korte had the opportunity to ride horses in Trinidad. Korte inquired into the status of his license in Pennsylvania, discovered the outstanding fifty dollar fine, and paid it.
On August 10, 1978, the commission suspended and revoked Korte's license pending his appearance before the commission for an investigatory hearing, and stated that "further approval of such privilege shall be withheld pending appearance which shall be upon the request of the applicant and at any time so requested."
After Korte left Grenada with Zeek in 1978, they parted in Martinique. Korte worked at various odd jobs on yachts between 1978 and 1985, in the Caribbean and in Europe. Korte returned to the United States in March 1985 and began exercising horses in New York, until his New York license was ...