Reassuring that when you call the Office of the Racing Integrity Commissioner, the Commissioner picks up the phone. Either he needs more staff or he's keen to demonstrate his accessibility to the public. Or both."I think of myself as public defender," says Sal Perna, "It's my job to ensure the public has confidence in racing integrity."
Perna wound up his month-long inquiry into race fixing allegations more than 5 weeks ago. We didn't miss him on that occasion, labeling his invitation convicted jailed drug baron Tony Mokbel to spill his guts from the gaol cell as an "extraordinary stunt".
Perna has had no response to his letter to Fat Tony, but from what we've heard from sources we are prepared to roll back the outrage and cut Sal some slack.
A former Victorian homicide cop who comes from "outside" racing, Perna has collected 60 "information reports" on his listening tour and interviewed both law enforcement and racing controlling authorities.
Was it two way traffic down Russell Street? Did law enforcement share information and intelligence with him?
"Yes they did."Did he know about the Oliver secret betting allegation during his inquiry?
"I cannot talk about specific cases."Will you be making your findings public?
"Yes and I will be taking a two-pronged approach: first, I will report on the race-fixing allegations and whether any corruption is systemic, and second, I will be looking at the broader issues."Namely:
- oversight of licensed persons
- Sharing of information with law enforcement
- the powers of his role as integrity commissioner
Bated breath. The whole world is watching, kind of.