Bankers have begun working with besieged race track owner Mark Vogel to help solve his financial problems and at the same time keep his harness tracks operating.
Paul Mark Sandler, one of Vogel's attorneys, said his client had "a very productive meeting" with officials of the First National Bank of Maryland yesterday and was to have met with them again this morning.
Sandler said Vogel's goal is to organize his finances so that harness racing in Maryland will continue to operate and prosper.
Sandler made no other comments about the meeting, but sources said Vogel probably will put his two harness tracks -- Rosecroft and Delmarva Downs -- into receivership, with Vogel serving as trustee, or Vogel could end up filing for bankruptcy protection.
So far, Vogel has not filed for bankruptcy and First National has not filed foreclosure proceedings. The bank did file a $10 million confessed judgment suit against Vogel last Friday in Prince George's County Circuit Court and froze track operating accounts. Vogel, whose crumbling real estate empire precipitated problems with his race tracks, had fallen behind in loan payments that he owed the bank.
The state racing commission meets at Timonium today to decide whether to renew Vogel's 1991 license to operate the tracks. Rosecroft is scheduled to open Friday night after a three-week winter break.
Sandler said neither Vogel nor any of his representatives will attend the commission meeting.
In recent days, certain commissioners, in addition to their concern over Vogel's financial problems, have expressed dismay about the 42-year-old track owner's admission that he has used cocaine "off and on" for 14 years. Vogel, who was arrested for possession of cocaine Sept. 13, pleaded guilty to the charge, but was given probation before verdict.
Commission officials and attorneys were said to be huddled in daylong meetings in Baltimore yesterday, but commission chairman Ernest Colvin said he would have no comment until today's public meeting at Timonium.