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Grapevine: Racing to the courthouse

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Turmoil in New Jersey's horseracing industry reached a new chapter last week, when the parent company of Freehold Raceway filed a federal lawsuit against the state over the future of its account wagering system.

The suit, filed against the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, stems in part from the state's efforts last year to privatize the system, which has allowed the industry to take bets on races by telephone and online. The electronic wagering system is a joint venture between the sports authority — the former operator of the Meadowlands Racetrack and Monmouth Park — and Pennwood Racing LLC, the owner of Freehold Raceway and the plaintiff in the federal lawsuit.

Several high-stakes court battles have turned up in recent years as the state's racing industry tries to revitalize itself. Last year, Pennwood and the parent company of Atlantic City Race Course sued to stop the state from enforcing a group of laws aimed at speeding the development of off-track wagering parlors, which the firms said violated a 10-year-old contract and favored the firms now operating the state-owned tracks.

Pennwood alleges the agency has circumvented its state-mandated joint venture agreement in seeking to privatize the wagering system. The company also raises questions about whether the agency has improperly extended credit to bettors. The sports authority said it disputed the allegations.

Extra credit

Last week, Grapevine reported a list of Revel creditors that appeared to be from 2011. Here are the creditors listed on the credit agreement's Feb. 12, 2013, fifth amendment, the latest available, per SEC records:
JP Morgan Chase Bank; American Funds Insurance Series, High Income Bond Fund; American High-Income Trust; Wells Fargo Principal Lending, LLC; AAI Canyon Fund PLC, solely in respect of Canyon Reflection Fund; Canyon Capital Arbitrage Master Fund Ltd.; Canyon Balanced Master Fund Ltd.; Canyon Distressed Opportunity Master Fund L.P.; The Canyon Distressed Opportunity Master Fund L.P.; The Canyon Value Realization Master Fund L.P.; Canyon-GRF Master Fund L.P.; Canyon-GRF Master Fund II L.P.; Canyon-TCDRS Fund LLC; Canyon Value Realization Fund L.P.; Permal Canyon Fund Ltd.; Canyon Value Realization MAC 18 Ltd.; Citi Canyon Ltd.; J.P. Morgan Whitefriars Inc.; Chatham Asset High Yield Master Fund LTD; Chatham Eureka Fund L.P.

Labor pains?

As Grapevine has reported, Barnabas Health has long been the front-runner to manage Newark's University Hospital as part of a statewide realignment of Rutgers, UMDNJ and Rowan. But in the wake of that legislation, Barnabas thought the labor protections for University Hospital were so "robust" that the health system made overtures that it might not want to manage the Newark hospital, a source said.

Barnabas strongly denied that, with a spokeswoman calling it "emphatically false."

The source said the talk about Barnabas' reluctance "has quieted" and "it seems the momentum has picked up again."

It is almost presumed that Barnabas will manage the long-challenged Newark hospital, the source said. While other entities have expressed interest in managing University Hospital, Barnabas is the only one that could reasonably be able to do it, the source said.

The Barnabas spokeswoman wouldn't comment on where things stand for the possible management of University Hospital.

Keen on Kean's district

The Democrats have launched a recruitment effort to challenge Tom Kean Jr. in his legislative district, according to a tipster.

The move comes after Kean made overtures to mount a credible GOP challenge in Steve Sweeney's district, indicating Republicans could win there.

The tipster would not name any possible Dem candidates for Kean's 21st district.

Asked about the expected electoral battles, both sides basically said "bring it," believing their candidate is unbeatable.

"The more time and money and energy they waste on attacking a guy who is unbeatable, the less time, money and energy they have defending their vulnerable candidates," a GOP source said.

"Politicians who feel secure in their political future don't make routine events, like having an opponent, personal," a Republican insider said.

A Democrat shot back: "Young Kean should follow the example of his father, a man who is a true statesman. What comes around, goes around."

Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Sharon Waters at sharonw@njbiz.com.

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Grapevine: Racing to the courthouse

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Latest News

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Turmoil in New Jersey's horseracing industry reached a new chapter last week, when the parent company of Freehold Raceway filed a federal lawsuit against the state over the future of its account wagering system.

The suit, filed against the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, stems in part from the state's efforts last year to privatize the system, which has allowed the industry to take bets on races by telephone and online. The electronic wagering system is a joint venture between the sports authority — the former operator of the Meadowlands Racetrack and Monmouth Park — and Pennwood Racing LLC, the owner of Freehold Raceway and the plaintiff in the federal lawsuit.

Several high-stakes court battles have turned up in recent years as the state's racing industry tries to revitalize itself. Last year, Pennwood and the parent company of Atlantic City Race Course sued to stop the state from enforcing a group of laws aimed at speeding the development of off-track wagering parlors, which the firms said violated a 10-year-old contract and favored the firms now operating the state-owned tracks.

Pennwood alleges the agency has circumvented its state-mandated joint venture agreement in seeking to privatize the wagering system. The company also raises questions about whether the agency has improperly extended credit to bettors. The sports authority said it disputed the allegations.

Extra credit

Last week, Grapevine reported a list of Revel creditors that appeared to be from 2011. Here are the creditors listed on the credit agreement's Feb. 12, 2013, fifth amendment, the latest available, per SEC records:
JP Morgan Chase Bank; American Funds Insurance Series, High Income Bond Fund; American High-Income Trust; Wells Fargo Principal Lending, LLC; AAI Canyon Fund PLC, solely in respect of Canyon Reflection Fund; Canyon Capital Arbitrage Master Fund Ltd.; Canyon Balanced Master Fund Ltd.; Canyon Distressed Opportunity Master Fund L.P.; The Canyon Distressed Opportunity Master Fund L.P.; The Canyon Value Realization Master Fund L.P.; Canyon-GRF Master Fund L.P.; Canyon-GRF Master Fund II L.P.; Canyon-TCDRS Fund LLC; Canyon Value Realization Fund L.P.; Permal Canyon Fund Ltd.; Canyon Value Realization MAC 18 Ltd.; Citi Canyon Ltd.; J.P. Morgan Whitefriars Inc.; Chatham Asset High Yield Master Fund LTD; Chatham Eureka Fund L.P.

Labor pains?

As Grapevine has reported, Barnabas Health has long been the front-runner to manage Newark's University Hospital as part of a statewide realignment of Rutgers, UMDNJ and Rowan. But in the wake of that legislation, Barnabas thought the labor protections for University Hospital were so "robust" that the health system made overtures that it might not want to manage the Newark hospital, a source said.

Barnabas strongly denied that, with a spokeswoman calling it "emphatically false."

The source said the talk about Barnabas' reluctance "has quieted" and "it seems the momentum has picked up again."

It is almost presumed that Barnabas will manage the long-challenged Newark hospital, the source said. While other entities have expressed interest in managing University Hospital, Barnabas is the only one that could reasonably be able to do it, the source said.

The Barnabas spokeswoman wouldn't comment on where things stand for the possible management of University Hospital.

Keen on Kean's district

The Democrats have launched a recruitment effort to challenge Tom Kean Jr. in his legislative district, according to a tipster.

The move comes after Kean made overtures to mount a credible GOP challenge in Steve Sweeney's district, indicating Republicans could win there.

The tipster would not name any possible Dem candidates for Kean's 21st district.

Asked about the expected electoral battles, both sides basically said "bring it," believing their candidate is unbeatable.

"The more time and money and energy they waste on attacking a guy who is unbeatable, the less time, money and energy they have defending their vulnerable candidates," a GOP source said.

"Politicians who feel secure in their political future don't make routine events, like having an opponent, personal," a Republican insider said.

A Democrat shot back: "Young Kean should follow the example of his father, a man who is a true statesman. What comes around, goes around."

Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Sharon Waters at sharonw@njbiz.com.

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