06/04/2001 11:00PM

Florida auditing Hialeah


MIAMI - An investigator from the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering was sent to Hialeah on Tuesday to audit the horseman's accounts for the track's recently concluded 2001 meeting. The Florida Division of the Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association has complained that the track has been inordinately slow in paying the approximately $5.380 million owed owners and trainers.

Hialeah sent $4 million owed the horsemen on May 25, three days after the 2001 meet concluded, and an additional $585,000 on Monday night. As of Tuesday they still owed horsemen nearly $800,000.

"The Division asked for permission to audit the accounts, and we had no problem with that," said John Van Lindt, general counsel for Hialeah. Van Lindt said that Hialeah was having difficulty collecting money owed from the individual interstate and intertrack wagering outlets: "As of today we are still owed over $3.1 million from various sites."

Linda Mills, president of the Florida HBPA, said that the investigator would be looking to see if any money went out of the horseman's account and into other Hialeah accounts. "The horsemen's account is an escrow account; they hold the horsemen's money for us, and taking or borrowing any of that money for the track's own use would be illegal," said Mills.