Lawsuit accuses racing commission of 'sabotage'

Updated: 01/02/2014 7:15 AM | Created: 01/01/2014 8:52 PM
By: Nicole Brady, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Almost six years after La Mesa Racetrack and Casino announced their plans, the company is launching a lawsuit, accusing the state's racing commission of sabotage.

It was in 2008 when La Mesa first bid to build a racino in Raton.

There were plans for a $50 million facility that was supposed to bring hundreds of jobs to the area.

For the groundbreaking in 2009, they brought out Kentucky Derby winner "Mine That Bird", whose trainer was from Raton.

Live races were supposed to begin in 2010, along with slot machine gambling.

But, the project was plagued by delays, and in 2011, the New Mexico Racing Commission said La Mesa's license was essentially void; that too much time has passed with nothing happening.

Now, almost three years later, La Mesa is suing the state's racing commission, and leveling a serious accusation: That La Mesa's plans were "purposefully sabotaged" by a commissioner who was friendly with a rival racetrack and casino operator.

The suit also accuses four other commissioners of letting the clock run out on La Mesa's license.

La Mesa is seeking to be compensated for its losses over the years, but the lawsuit doesn't give a dollar amount.

A license to operate a racino in New Mexico is very valuable. Currently, the state has awarded only five of them: The Downs at Albuquerque, Ruidoso Downs, Sunland Park, SunRay Park in Farmington, and Zia Park in Hobbs.

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