08/10/2005 11:00PM

Marketing executive, others laid off


Hollywood Park laid off approximately 18 employees on Wednesday, including Allen Gutterman, the vice-president, marketing, and James Miller, paymaster of purses. Employees in accounting and information technology were also laid off, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.

The layoffs occurred a month after the Bay Meadows Land Co. purchased Hollywood Park from Churchill Downs Inc. for $260 million. The transaction is expected to close on Sept. 23.

Hollywood Park president Rick Baedeker declined to comment on the layoffs, referring calls to Jack Liebau, who oversees racetracks for the Bay Meadows Land Company.

Liebau said the layoffs were part of a consolidation of executives between Bay Meadows and Hollywood Park. He said Mike Ziegler, an executive based at Bay Meadows, will take over the Hollywood Park marketing department.

"The reduction results from the consolidation of workforces of two tracks," Liebau said. "It is unfortunate, but in today's world we have to try to operate as efficiently as we can. One of the ways to do that is to consolidate your workforce.

"In this instance, it's easier than it has been in the past. Neither Hollywood Park or Bay Meadows overlap in terms of racing meets."

The cuts came even though Bay Meadows has not taken over the operation of Hollywood Park.

"I think Churchill Downs and the existing management of Hollywood thought it would be best to get the news out sooner or later," Liebau said. "That was their decision and I don't quarrel with it."