La Mesa officials file appeal

By Thomas Garcia: QCS staff writer

Tucumcari officials, hopeful to take advantage of a second chance at a racino, said an appeal filed with the New Mexico Gaming Control Board is simply a delay by Raton-based La Mesa Racetrack and Casino.

“They are only putting off the inevitable,” said Warren Frost, executive director of the Quay County Gaming Authority.

Raton was awarded a gaming license for a racino in August 2008, beating out groups from Tucumcari and Santa Fe, but the license was revoked May 4 by the GCB.

Regarding La Mesa’s appeal, Frost said the Gaming Control board the racetrack officials every opportunity over the past 18 months to prove they could meet the agreed upon requirements.

“In that time,” Frost said, “La Mesa Racetrack did not meet the requirements.”

In its appeal, La Mesa said the license revocation was made without due process. Sam Bregman, La Mesa’s attorney, referred to the license revocation as a “knee-jerk decision,” and said it was both wrong and unlawful.

“This has been a long process which culminated on May 4 with the revoking of La Mesa’s gaming license,” said GCB Deputy Executive Director Greg Saunders.

Saunders said the board reviewed all of the information available to them before making the decision to revoke the license.

“The Gaming Control Board does not make hasty decisions,” Saunders said.

In the appeal La Mesa officials argue they had complied with issues raised by the board, and provided documentation to show adequate money is lined up to build the project.

La Mesa officials have requested the GCB respond to the appeal with-in 60 days, which Saunders said the board plans to do.

La Mesa officials are scheduled to appear before the New Mexico Racing Commission on June 16 for a disciplinary hearing regarding their racing license.