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Henry Wojtaszek named chief of Western Region OTB

BATAVIA – Henry F. Wojtaszek, general counsel for Western Region Off-Track Betting Corp. since 2010, has been promoted to president, CEO and general counsel of the organization, succeeding Michael D. Kane, who will be retiring, effective July 29.

The appointment of Wojtaszek, 53, of North Tonawanda, was announced along with other managerial changes at Thursday’s WROTB board of directors meeting at Batavia Downs.

“I’m very thrilled,” said Wojtaszek, who will be responsible for the overall supervision and administration while continuing to handle review and implementation of all legal matters affecting the corporation. “I wish to commend Mike Kane for the fantastic job he has done – both with the physical plant and the business success.”

Wojtaszek, a former Navy officer and North Tonawanda city attorney, said immediate priorities include completion of the privately owned Batavia Downs Gaming Hotel, which is expected to open in August, and keeping an eye on pending legislation involving daily fantasy and iPoker wagering.

“We already have a contract in place with a daily fantasy company and plan to offer that service when it is legalized,” he said.

The board took Kane’s recommendations to move Michael P. Nolan and Scott P. Kiedrowski into the new positions of chief operations officer and vice president of operations, respectively, starting June 20.

Nolan has been the corporation’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. Now, he will be responsible for day-to-day direction of WROTB and Batavia Downs Gaming, as well as supervision of security, food and beverages, video gaming, and buildings and grounds.

“Having worked with Mike Kane since 2011, I have gained much knowledge from him and look to share that knowledge,” said Nolan, a former Town of Elma supervisor. “I also want to thank the board for showing faith in us, as all the management structure changes have come from within.”

Kiedrowski will be leaving his job as chief of staff for State Sen. Robert G. Ortt, R-North Tonawanda, to direct Batavia Downs Gaming marketing activities, the purchasing department and the communications office.

He has served as the Niagara County representative on the WROTB board since 2009.

WROTB Board Chairman Richard D. Bianchi commended Kane for resurrecting Batavia Downs, which he said had been “languishing” for six years before Kane became president.

“Batavia Downs wouldn’t have been here without the Kane family,” Bianchi said. Kane’s late father, Robert, was chairman of the WROTB board of directors from 1976 to 2002.

“Mike took over in 2011, and he led us to where we are today. He’s done a great job, and now people around the state look at this place as a jewel,” Bianchi added.

In other developments, the board:

• Announced a tentative agreement with its 160-member union at Batavia Downs Gaming, a four-year deal going back to 2014 that increases wages by $1.05 an hour over the length of the contract.

Branch Operations Director Sean S. Schiano said employees will receive per-hour raises of 35 cents for 2015, 40 cents for 2016 and 30 cents for 2017, with no retroactive raise for 2014. The pact runs through 2017. Schiano said he hopes the union’s membership approves the terms before the board’s next meeting, which is set for June 23.

• Heard from Nolan that a plan to close off a portion of Park Road to traffic has been shelved, with the corporation now looking at placing a roof over the road and remodeling the gaming facility’s front entrance to make it safer for the public.

WROTB’s proposal to close the road, north and south of Batavia Downs, was met with vocal opposition from residents of city streets running parallel to the gaming facility.