Monday, April 11, 2011

Ullman Explains No Vote on Racing

Posted By on Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 3:37 PM

Today Ada County commissioners awarded a five-year lease to Treasure Valley Racing, which hopes to re-launch horse racing at Les Bois Park.

Commissioner Sharon Ullman was the lone no vote, while commishes Vern Bisterfeldt and Rick Yzaguirre voted in favor of accepting the bid.

Last night Ullman offered a lengthy, multi-part explanation of her anticipated decision on her blog. Among the statements in her post titled "Just Say 'No' to Greene Group":

"For numerous reasons, I believe these people to be less than the upstanding, ethical citizens we want operating a gambling and alcohol distribution operation—heavily subsidized by county taxpayers—on Ada County property. Keep in mind that Les Bois Park is publicly owned and no property taxes will be paid on the real property. "

"Why would we want the Greene Group people of Alabama, who were found by the Alabama DOI to have such shoddy, if not downright illegal, business practices, to run Les Bois Park?"

"This situation reminds me of my first taste of the Greene Group, when their Idaho lobbyist Russ Westerberg and his assistant Joie McGarvin asked me out for coffee after I won the November 2008 election. Westerberg asked whether I was willing to put out a Request for Proposals for the Les Bois Park lease. Willing? Why wouldn’t I vote to put out an RFP, so the county could identify the best operator for the facility? I assured them that it seemed the most reasonable course of action.

At the end of the meeting, Westerberg asked me if I had any campaign debt that needed to be paid off. I assured him that I not only had no remaining campaign debt but that I also do not take money from special interests."

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