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Treasure Valley Racing secures Les Bois Park lease


April 11, 2011     E-mail this page to a friend!

At a live auction today for the lease to operate Les Bois Park, Harry Bettis, representing Treasure Valley Racing, LLC (TVR), placed the winning—and only— bid. The Ada County Commission voted 2-to-1 shortly thereafter to accept the bid, reinforcing the optimism that has carried the region’s horsemen and racing fans since the previous leaseholder—Idaho Entertainment (IE)—effectively left town after failing to conduct live racing in both 2009 and 2010.

Before voting, Sharon Ullman, who cast the lone “no” vote, questioned the ethics of The Greene Group, one of the partners in TVR. When her arguments failed to gain traction with Commissioners Vern Bisterfeldt and Rick Yzaguirre, Ullman attacked Bisterfeldt’s ethics, accusing him of taking improper campaign contributions.

Yzaguirre took control of the meeting, noting that “This is not the time to have that discussion.”

Bettis was asked to step forward to sign the lease, whereupon the gathered crowd of approximately 150 broke into spontaneous applause.

Did Ada County really have its bond money from Idaho Entertainment?


Today’s signing comes on the heels of a report by Cynthia Sewell of The Idaho Statesman in which she outlined a snafu that allowed IE to withdraw its $125,000 cash bond without Ada County’s knowledge. The full report is contained in the sidebar—”Disappearing bond money prompts procedural change”— to Sewell’s article at http://www.idahostatesman.com/2011/04/11/1601047/ada-puts-les-bois-lease-on-the.html.

In the sidebar, Sewell detailed the timeline:

December 22: Idaho Entertainment president Eric Spector asked Commissioner Ullman to release the deposit.

December 23: Ullman responded, saying that the bond money, minus amounts due to the county, could only be released after IE provided a written notice of their intention to end their lease.

December 24: The funds were transferred to another account, apparently under the presumption that the written notice was in the works. Somehow, this new account was set up to only require one signature—from Idaho Entertainment— to gain access to the account. Ada County’s signature was not required.

A week later, December 31, Spector provided the written notice.

It is unclear when the money vanished.