04/20/2012 2:19PM

Monmouth: New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority accepts recommendation to dismiss Brunetti complaint


The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority’s board of commissioners has accepted a hearing officer’s conclusion that a complaint filed by Hialeah Park owner John J. Brunetti seeking to reopen bidding for a lease of the authority’s Monmouth Park should be dismissed.

The board accepted the recommendation on Thursday, shortly after its hearing officer, Mark Stefanacci, forwarded the board a document stating that Brunetti had no grounds to contest the authority’s decision to sign a lease for Monmouth with the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. For the decision to be upheld, it will need to be approved by Gov. Chris Christie, a decision that was expected within the next several days.

Brunetti had challenged the decision earlier this month, contending, among other complaints, that the authority awarded the lease on terms that were substantially different than those that he had been offered in an initial request for proposals. Brunetti’s complaint was heard on Monday.

In the 37-page document, Stefanacci said that the request for proposals clearly stated that terms of the lease would be negotiable, and he called Brunetti’s position “without merit.” Stefanacci also wrote that the changes cited by Brunetti were not “material to the lease.”

Monmouth is scheduled to open on May 12.