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Overton stays on Minnesota Racing Commission, but Ralph Strangis is new chair

The Overton controversy may have led to new chair appointment.

Gov. Mark Dayton has appointed Ralph Strangis as chair of the Minnesota Racing Commission. He had been commission chair in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The previous chair, Jesse Overton, was reappointed to the commission by Dayton but no longer will be its chair.

Dayton also appointed Thomas DiPasquale to the commission.

There has been controversy during Overton’s time as commission chair. After retiring last year, the commission’s former executive director, Richard Krueger, told Channel 5 news that he did not have a lot of faith in Overton.

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And after Assistant Executive Director Mary Manney resigned last week, her attorney told Channel 5 that she urged Dayton not to reappointed Overton.

An employee also filed a discrimination complaint against Overton last year; state officials have not released details of the investigation.

Strangis was a legal adviser to the Twins when they were seeking the new downtown stadium.

Said Dayton in a statement about the appointments:

“I especially want to thank Mr. Ralph Strangis for his willingness to assume the top leadership role of the Commission. His previous experience chairing the Commission and his many other successful ventures will be invaluable at this important time. I strongly urge all of the Commission’s Board Members and staff to give him their full cooperation and support.”