De Francis loses one Va. foe

February 03, 1994|By Ross Peddicord

Paul Jacobs II, legal counsel for New Kent County, Va., said yesterday that he has been asked by the county to withdraw a letter he wrote on Jan. 24 protesting Laurel/Pimlico operator Joe De Francis' decision to change his site for a proposed thoroughbred racing track in Virginia from New Kent to Loudoun County.

In the letter, Jacobs said that the New Kent County government concurs with a protest lodged by another applicant, Jim Wilson's Virginia Jockey Club, which has stated that De Francis' site change is illegal. The Wilson group maintains that all sites must have been specified by an Oct. 1, 1993, application deadline and could not be amended by Jan. 3, 1994, which is when De Francis announced his site change.

Bill Anderson, a policy analyst for the Virginia Racing Commission, said that the Wilson protest is being reviewed by the state attorney general's office.

Jacobs said he was not told why New Kent wanted the letter withdrawn. However, it's possible De Francis will still be doing business with New Kent County if a track is located there. He has signed an agreement with another applicant, harness operator Arnold Stansley, to manage thoroughbred operations if Stansley is awarded the Virginia license.

Stansley plans to build on the New Kent site abandoned by De Francis.

Commission site visits and public hearings at the six proposed track sites are as follows:

* March 1: New Kent County (applicants Stansley and Jeffrey Taylor).

* March 9: The Tidewater (applicants Churchill Downs, Virginia Beach; Virginia Racing Associates, Portsmouth)

* March 14: Northern Virginia (applicants Laurel/Pimlico, Loudoun County; Jim Wilson's Virginia Jockey Club, Prince William County).

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