Update – Brooks, New Jersey, Maryland


Brooks, Bulletproof Suspensions Stayed by USTA

Columbus, OH — The United States Trotting Association, in accordance with its Rule 23, Section 12, and following the receipt of a written notice of appeal, has stayed the suspension of membership privileges of Jeffrey Brooks and Bulletproof Enterprises, Inc., respectively, pending a hearing before the USTA Executive Committee. The appeal is scheduled to be heard on Saturday, March 20, in Columbus.

Brooks Files Civil Suit Against USTA, NYSRWB

Jeffrey Brooks, brother of ex-standardbred owner David Brooks, and the racing stable Bulletproof Enterprises is reported to be suing the United States Trotting Association. According to a report on courthousenews.com, the USTA’s executive vice president, Michael Tanner, is also named in the civil lawsuit along with New York State Racing and Wagering Board chairman John Sabini and members Daniel Hogan and John Simoni. Brooks and Bulletproof are reportedly seeking $108 million (U.S.) in damages, alleging tortious interference and due process violations.

The article states that the suit stems from the USTA adopting the stance of the Ontario Racing Commission, which decided to revoke Brooks’ and Bulletproof Enterprises’ racing privileges in late January, 2010. Reportedly, Brooks is claiming that the revocation came without notice. Brooks is also reportedly claiming that he was not given the opportunity to be heard in regard to the matter. In his suit, Brooks reportedly stated that the ORC had ordered Ontario tracks to freeze and withhold all purses owed to him and his stable. At current time, Brooks and Bulletproof Enterprises are unable to race or sell any of his/its horses. The article states that the ORC is not named as defendant in the suit.

David Brooks is currently on trial in Central Islip, New York. It is alleged that he erroneously inflated the worth of his body armour company, DHB Industries, and siphoned off millions to support a lavish lifestyle and, at least in part, his horse racing enterprise. It is alleged that he profited in the rage of $185 million after he selling stock in the company before the value of that stock crumbled.

A portion of the suit states: "In a classic case of guilt by association, virtually the entire rationale contained in Ontario’s suspension order was the conduct of Jeffrey’s brother, and former licensee, David Brooks, who is presently on trial for securities fraud and related counts in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York." Jeffrey Brooks and Bulletproof Enterprises are being represented in the suit by Andrew Goodman with Garvey Schubert Barer.

Gov. Christie vetoes NJ horsemen’s budgets

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has vetoed the budgets proposed by both the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey (SBOANJ) and the Thoroughbred Breeders Association of New Jersey (TBANJ). A press release issued by the governor’s office this past Friday said the horse industry was not being specifically targeted: “The practice of excessive, profligate spending in every part of state government,” was being addressed, the release said, indicating that the Delaware River and Bay Authority, Urban Enterprise Zone, and Schools Development Authority have also had their budgets questioned.

The governor’s office reportedly questioned $40,000 earmarked by the TBANJ to lobby lawmakers, for amounts used to fund award banquets and other activities. The proposed budgets represented increases of 5.6 percent (SBOANJ) and 19.8 percent (TBANJ). The most recent spending figures for the two groups – funded by a share of the betting handle – showed that the TBANJ spent $102,599 and the SBOANJ spent $60,100 for lobbying in 2008, the most recent year for which figures are available. “I don’t begrudge the governor for doing this,” Tom Luchento, SBOANJ president, told the Press of Atlantic City. “But obviously we’d like to have a conversation with him about what a reasonable sum for lobbying might be.” The governor exercises such control of the groups’ budgets because they are funded money withheld from betting pools as authorized by state statues.

A Bump In The Road For Rosecroft

Hope of a quick finalization of the $10.5 million sale of Rosecroft Raceway by Cloverleaf Enterprises to former owner Mark Vogel have been dashed in Maryland. The state racing commission and a bankruptcy trustee both now have thrown logs in the road. The commission expressed what executive director J. Michael Hopkins called “a very mild objection, just a reminder that we will need to approve this sale.” Hopkins said the commission will need time to review Vogel’s complete financial information before deciding on approval of the deal. The bankruptcy trustee involved in Cloverleaf’s filing for chapter 11 protection proceedings said Cloverleaf’s law firm that is handling the sale failed to reveal that it also represents the Cloverleaf SOA, Cloverleaf Enterprises’ sole shareholder and a creditor. Hopkins is concerned that the sale would provide $100,000 to Cloverleaf to pay off debts, with the rest going to the association, a development which would leave nothing for unsecured creditors, and little recourse in the event Vogel should breach the contract.

The trustee, W. Clarkson McDow, Jr., also expressed doubts about Vogel not submitting full financial information and instead saying he would personally pay for the purchase. McDow also chided Cloverleaf for not seeking other buyers since last May. 

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