08/19/2009 11:00PM

Owner wants stiffer punishment for Shapiro


DEL MAR, Calif. - Horse owner Jerry Jamgotchian said on Wednesday that former California Horse Racing Board chairman Richard Shapiro got off easy for vandalizing Jamgotchian's car at Hollywood Park in April. Shapiro was sentenced to three years of informal probation.

In a court hearing on Tuesday, Shapiro pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of vandalizing Jamgotchian's car with a key. As part of the court decision, Shapiro, 56, must pay $6,800 in damages to Jamgotchian, a vocal critic of Shapiro and the racing board on a variety of issues in recent years.

According to transcripts, Jamgotchian said in court that he thought Shapiro should have to attend anger managment classes and perform community service, and that he write the court and the California racing industry a letter of apology.

"My opinion was that Shapiro got off very easy," Jamgotchian said on Wednesday. "He should have gotten community service time and he should have got anger management classes, just like any tagger that has destroyed private property.

"He showed no remorse. He hasn't apologized to the horse racing industry for the embarrassment he has caused to California racing."

The judge for the hearing, John R. Johnson, denied Jamgotchian's requests for stiffer punishment, but had the two men shake hands in front of him.

"Why don't you bury the hatchet and act civilized and mature about this whole thing, both of you," said Johnson, according to the transcripts.

Jamgotchian said he is pursuing a civil case against Shapiro and is urging the racing board to revoke Shapiro's owners license during the term of the probation. As a condition of probation, the judge said Shapiro must pay for any civil judgment rendered against him.

The incident occurred on the same day as a racing board hearing at Hollywood Park. Shapiro was charged with felony vandalism in July, but reached an agreement on a lesser charge with the district attorney's office.

Shapiro joined the racing board in 2004 and resigned last December after learning he had lost significant money in the Bernard Madoff investment scandal.