Racetrack license on racing commission agenda


January 16, 2019

The possibility of awarding a sixth racetrack license is on the agenda for the regular meeting Thursday of the New Mexico Racing Commission, but it remains unclear whether commissioners will make a decision because of a pending lawsuit filed by one of the applicants.

An item called “Sixth Racetrack License” is on the agenda, along with 30 other items, for the commission’s 9:30 a.m. meeting at its boardroom at 4900 Alameda Blvd. in Albuquerque, according to an email from the commission Monday.

The commission previously has stated it is committed to awarding a license to applicants in Tucumcari, Clovis or Lordsburg. However, Hidalgo Downs LLC and other parties associated with the Lordsburg proposal on Nov. 28 requested an injunction against the license process, claiming an independent feasibility study of the applicants was flawed and a possible conflict of interest by commission Chairman Ray Willis and one of the Clovis applicants.

Izzy Trejo, executive director of the commission, said in an email Monday a court date hasn’t been set to hear Hidalgo’s case.

Warren Frost, a Logan attorney and one of the principals for Coronado Partners that wants to build an $80 million racetrack and casino in Tucumcari, recently filed motions to intervene in the case and dismiss the lawsuit.

Commissioners indicated in a December meeting they wanted to award the license. But Tania Maestas, chief deputy attorney general, said her office would not guarantee legal representation for the commission if it took action before Hidalgo’s lawsuit is resolved.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who took office last week, also holds the power to replace commission members any time. The governor’s office has not given any indication what it will do while the lawsuit and license applications are pending.


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