Harness racing came to New York in 1940 under the most powerful of political auspices. Party and state officials had worked behind the scenes to push the enabling legislation and later turned up as holders of large blocks of stock in harness tracks, stock for which they had paid virtually nothing. By the time New York's scandal broke in 1953, their profit-taking had reached sensational proportions. At the same time, a number of ex-convicts also had infiltrated stockholder lists and labor racketeers controlled the hiring of thousands of track employees, exacting kick-backs and managing union funds for their own benefit. The murder of one labor extortionist by members of a rival group of racketeers who wanted to share in the loot brought about exposure of the whole mess by a state investigating commission. Subsequently, laws were passed that prohibited politicians and state officials from owning stock or participating in the running of tracks, banned ex-convicts, set up a strong racing commission and cut the percentage of betting that tracks could keep. Almost exactly the same sequence of events occurred at about the same time in Illinois.