04/10/2012 3:03PM

Monmouth Park: Complaint over track lease subject of Monday hearing

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The chief legal counsel for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority will preside over a hearing on Monday involving a complaint that the authority acted improperly when it authorized a lease of Monmouth Park to the state’s horsemen’s group.

The complaint was lodged by John J. Brunetti, who was one of three parties who submitted a bid for the lease of Monmouth Park earlier this year. In a letter sent to the authority, Brunetti’s attorney, Paul Josephson, said that the state changed the rules of the bidding “to accommodate” the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, which was tabbed by the authority to operate Monmouth shortly after receiving the bid proposals.

Specifically, the letter from Brunetti’s attorney said the state violated its own request for proposals by granting the horsemen $4 million this year to operate the track as part of its lease agreement. The request for proposals stated that authority did not plan to “subsidize” the track’s operation in the future, the letter stated.

The terms of the lease with the horsemen “materially vary from the required terms of the RFP and violate bidding laws,” the letter states. It demands that the authority reopen bidding for the track, which is scheduled to open on May 3.

Authority spokesman John Samerjan said authority officials would not comment on the allegations in the letter.

“We’re working toward a May opening,” Samerjan said.

Mark E. Stefanacci, the chief operating officer and legal counsel for the sports authority, will preside over the Monday hearing.

chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
On one of my last days at Hialeah I stood on the open-air top floor of the Clubhouse and watched Seattle Slew open about 11 on the far turn and then glide home as he dragged Cruget along with him... Stunning. That kind of moment is still alive at Monmouth Park WITHOUT Brunetti. I'm sure he and his peeps can already see condos and strip malls all over the Monmouth Park property. I refer all readers of this to the Paulick Report from 2008 which outlines the Brunetti saga in Miami. Just google Brunetti. In 1977 the ugly realism of urban blight was the only thing that stopped investors from tearing Hialeah down. I don't see that blight around Monmouth Park and that coupled with threats from Gov. Christie might be the could be the scariest things here. Monmouth and Saratoga are the only two classy old joints left in the east and we can't afford to lose either one. Hey DRF... Get behind this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
To whose benefit is this nonsense? Not Monmouth, not horsemen, certainly not Brunetti, whose These tactics smack of Fatal Attraction, where "if I can't have you, no one else can". It stands to reason the man who brought Hialeah down seems to have aimed his sights a little lower. Just when you think you hit rock-bottom in sleaze...