More problems for Pinnacle Race Course. Governor Granholm should be happy.

After all the Governor wants to kill us off anyway.

Tax bill snafu puts Pinnacle in arrears: Racecourse fights assessments, battles other financial problems

POSTED: 8:00 p.m., Aug. 22, 2010
LAST MODIFIED: 8:21 p.m., Aug. 22, 2010  

Tax bill snafu puts Pinnacle in arrears: Racecourse fights assessments, battles other financial problems
By Bill Shea

• Property taxes: $730,000 owed for 2009 and $730,000 for 2010.

• Police: $150,000 owed to Huron Township.

• Utilities: Water and electricity had been shut off, but turned back on after arrearages were settled.

• Also: Track is appealing 2009-2010 tax assessments in a bid to have them reduced.
Source: Huron Township, Wayne County, Pinnacle ownership

Pinnacle Race Course in Wayne County’s Huron Township hasn’t paid a combined $1.46 million in property taxes for 2009 and 2010 because it didn’t receive its tax bills — a bureaucratic snafu, the county and township said.

The track’s owners are disputing, via the state tax appeals court, the assessments on the property that generated the $730,000 taxes that are unpaid for each of those years.

They say the market value of the property has declined, and they want the property’s assessment reduced so a smaller tax bill is due.

“We have no outstanding bills that we know of. All of our property taxes are current. We’ve paid all the bills we’ve gotten,” said track owner Jerry Campbell. “(If there is an undelivered tax bill) we’ll pay it if we get it.”

The unpaid taxes are just some of the thoroughbred horse track’s financial problems.

Pinnacle is $150,000 in arrears on its contract for township police protection, said township Clerk Dawnette Bowers, and the township-provided water service had been cut off to Pinnacle for a period because of a then-unpaid water bill over the winter.

The township is no longer providing a police officer for live race days.

“We can’t do it for free,” Bowers said. “They haven’t been in compliance with their contract. It’s been a constant struggle to get what’s owed out there.”

Campbell said the track has been paying its township bills on time, and there’s no need for as much police protection because Pinnacle dropped from five days of live racing per week to just the weekends.

He said any arrearage will be paid.

The track recently requested a two-year suspension of its contracts with the township to allow time for it to improve its finances, but the township board hasn’t voted on the request, Bowers said.

The township also was informed that DTE Energy had cut off electricity to the track for a time, Bowers said, but service was eventually restored.

Bowers said he believes the tax bill issue arose from internal township confusion over the status of the land the track sits upon. Jackson-based Post-It Stables Inc. bought 320 acres for $1 from the Wayne County Land Bank Authority in April 2008.

Because that land had been county property, it wasn’t assessed until it became a privately owned track, which likely is why the tax bill wasn’t generated, Bowers said.

The unpaid taxes mean the township should not have approved a parcel split that allowed Campbell’s J.L.L.J. Corp. to sell seven acres adjacent to the track two weeks ago for $179,000 to the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians for future development, Bowers said.

“At that point the township should not have granted the land split because they were arrears in taxes,” she said.

Campbell and his wife, Lisa, through Post-It Stables, filed appeals in June 2009 and June 2010 with the Michigan Tax Tribunal over the assessments on the track they opened in 2008.

The Campbells want the $14.5 million real property assessments for both years reduced to $2.5 million for 2010 and $4.25 million for 2009, said Patty Halm, chairwoman of the tribunal.

They’re also appealing an assessment of $2.125 million on the restaurant/bar at the track for both years and want it reduced to $420,000 for 2010 and $600,000 for 2009.

The appeal process typically takes two years because of the required waiting periods and because of a backlog of cases, Halm said.

Jerry Campbell said the appeals are standard business practice and are being handled for the track by Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP.

The township collects taxes and divides them among a number of political entities, including the state, county, township, the local school district, Huron-Clinton Metroparks and Wayne County Community College District, Bowers said.

Wayne County said it began looking into the tax issue last year.

“For several years the tax assessment on this property was $0,” wrote Stephanie Baron, press secretary to Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, in an e-mail to Crain’s. “The property is on the tax rolls. However, the Huron Township treasurer failed to send out a tax bill in 2009 and 2010.  Huron is working with the county to rectify this issue.”

Lisa Campbell, who is the track’s president and CEO, deferred all comment to the track’s on-site management. A message was left Thursday and Friday for Pinnacle General Manager Mike Mackey.

Lisa Campbell previously told Crain’s that the track has slowed its capital construction spending because of the tighter credit markets and a reduction in the number of live race days because of state cuts to the horse racing budget.

The track has been spending $5,900 to pay for the state personnel required to be on site for live racing for 41 days. It has 361 days scheduled this year for simulcast racing, which doesn’t require state employees present.

The state, as part of its budget cuts, trimmed live racing at Pinnacle to three days this season, forcing the track to pay for more days. The track does live racing only on weekends.

“There isn’t a track in America that can run two days and survive. We need to be open five,” Jerry Campbell said, adding he’s been subsidizing the track himself but declined to say how much he’s spending.

Lisa Campbell has said the track is not yet profitable.

According to state records, Pinnacle collected $4.2 million in 2009 and $1.9 million in 2008 from on-site wagering. It paid $960,823 in 2009 and $342,860 to the state from a 3.5 percent tax on simulcast wagers. Money also goes to the township.

There is no tax on live-race wagering.

State statistics show that $203.3 million was wagered at the state’s six tracks in 2009, down from $231 million in 2008.

The Campbells have been building since 2007 what eventually will be a $142 million horse track on 20 acres at the corner of Pennsylvania and Vining roads, a mile southwest of Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Jerry Campbell is the retired chairman and founder of the former Republic Bancorp Inc. in Ann Arbor.

Bill Shea: (313) 446-1626,

“For several years the tax assessment on this property was $0,” wrote Stephanie Baron, press secretary to Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, in an e-mail to Crain’s. “The property is on the tax rolls. However, the Huron Township treasurer failed to send out a tax bill in 2009 and 2010.  Huron is working with the county to rectify this issue.”

So why the Negative Article to begin with? And who and what is actually behind this article of Bashing Pinnacle?

I have written Blog after Blog after Blog about our entire situation here with Horse Racing and I am fed up with MICHIGAN. So one more time people. Jerry Campbell builds us a Thoroughbred track we waited for what seemed like an eternity after The Detroit Race Course was bulldozed to the ground by a Corporation of self-serving pompous English PUKE’S.

DRC was the first Race Track in the United States they could get their hands on. And also sadly the ONLY track they were actually able to purchase the land DRC sat on lock, stock and barrel to be able to bulldoze it. Ladbroke and I hate that name, the word itself engages rage to what they did to all of us in the Thoroughbred Industry which was to destroy us completely. But not without the blessing of the State and the final nail in DRC’s coffin by the city it had created. Livonia

Two years after DRC’s demise Livonia was crying BROKE as in LADBROKE. And they got what they begged for. Did those demented idiots honestly believe that the Meijers and other small stores put on that land would Generate the kind of Money DRC did?

It was a SIN what happened to that track, literally a Sin.

On November 8, 1998 we cried,

Reminiscing/ Detroit Race Course

And I meant to finish this one but left it to be continued. DETROIT’S THOROUGHBRED RACING HISTORY

On July 18, 2008 WE REJOICED!

I honestly cried as I wrote this particular Blog, I mean certain parts literally had tears flowing out of my eyes and down my face. Every single word was written from my Gut, Heart & Soul.


And in 2010 we now have this.

Nothing but one heart-break after the other. Jerry Campbell had the vision, in any day and age Vision comes with a price. But even more dire in this day and age. After Wall Street went bust during President Bush’s tenure, this country dropped to its knees. Most business ventures went down the tubes along with people’s mortgages. Pinnacle Race Course was no different. Jerry Campbell’s biggest financial backer pulled out of the project. Comerica. Leaving only phase 1 of three phases to be built. I cannot rewrite all that has been wrote on our Industry here on this site. I will list all of the Blogs to inform you of every single thing that is important and vital for your crystal clear clarity. Starting with the last I put up just a day ago. HORSE RACING. And yes tempers flared.



And is Michigan as a whole Benefiting or just those pockets?

And isn’t this sad that the last blog ( that was really the first ) would still define our present existence.

If all this can’t enlighten people and make them understand what has happened to an Industry that has Generated Money for the State of Michigan for 77 years now, long before we ever heard of the word Casino. When knowledge is gained from actual facts rather than innuendo’s and yet you still refuse those facts. Then in essence you are determined to be ignorant and personally I find that incomprehensible.

All I can say to Huron Township, whether you know it or not you’re sitting on a future gold mine. You can be as dense as Livonia. Or you can do what we haven’t been able to gain from anybody concerning Horse Racing in the State. SUPPORT US AND FOR ONCE US AND GIVE PINNACLE A CHANCE.

Another part of Bill Shea’s article that is wrong: ” The Campbells have been building since 2007 “?

The building ceased in 2008 because the bank – Comerica walked out on Jerry Campbell. Thus a 3 part phase with only 1 completed, 2 and 3 never ever got started.

Jerry Campbell isn’t a soothsayer, he couldn’t have foreseen a financial disaster on the horizon that took place a few years back when Pinnacle was already getting built.  He didn’t foresee Comerica saying SORRY we are pulling out. And NOBODY could foresee or thought Governor Granholm would Dissolve the Office of Racing Commissioner.

But the track isn’t spending squat for the 2010 racing meet.  The Horsemen/Women ( HBPA ) are funding this meet out of their purse funds. And it is they who are paying the State for the 41 race days for the privilege of having the State’s personal.

HBPA has had its qualms with Pinnacle’s Owners. But HBPA also knows that this State we are in has been trying to completely bury us for 14 years now. But we keep refusing to be DEAD and keep RISING.

Well already having stated for the last 14 Blogs. Michigan loves our 3.5% Simulcasting Tax, but just hates the Industry and it’s 12,000 workers connected to it. I’ll never understand it, none of us do. But it is what it is. I’m not a psychiatrist I cannot analyze Jennifer Granholm’s mind and those who have disturbed thoughts as her.


Institutionalization and sedation is my only recommendation.

Right now I just feel sorry for all of my fellow Thoroughbred Horsemen and Woman, the HBPA, our Industry as a whole and all of its Agriculture connections. And yes I feel sorry for Pinnacle and it’s Owners. The HBPA and it’s Horsemen can offer no more. All who enter Pinnacle’s Stable area work 7 days a week, then they fund their own meet. And when Jerry Campbell has finally composed a deal that may keep us alive. Either the Governor and sadly now the Township has an Iron skillet readily available to slam it on his head and our entire Thoroughbred Industry. It wasn’t about getting the land for a $1.00 then selling a piece of it for $179,000. Everyone damn knows all too well what it is about. Our Survival and any Idea’s that can contribute to it. And somebody should slap Ed Boike for starting trouble and making allegations suggesting anything different to begin with. A blind man could see what that deal and to whom purchased that parcel of land and what it may be used for in the future is all about.

Huron Township will be sitting in the best spot possible with everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose. They will relish in the revenue that will come out of that sale. They just don’t know it yet.

I’m just plain tired of explaining it over and over and writing it over and over. Is there anything else that is not clear to this State of Michigan or to the people who will still not comprehend all this. In Kentucky and New York their Governor’s fought for the Horse Racing Industry, it’s Horsemen and Woman and their Race Tracks.

Here in Michigan we have been fighting to stay alive for too long all while our Governor does what she can to make sure we are killed off.  It’s been all so evident that Michigan wants us gone. But understand something here, this Industry of ours Thoroughbred Horse Racing  and as of this moment the $5,404,852.00 ( everyday continually increasing )  that we’ve generated for you will also be gone with us.

Simulcast revenue produced from 3.5 tax for current fiscal year ending September 30, 2010. Current bal. Oct. 1, 2009 to August 15, 2010.


This Blog’s Header Picture is all we have left to view of DRC.  Yet memories from that track will forever be embedded into our Hearts. Must we continue killing off every Thoroughbred Venue here in Michigan?

Contact Virg Bernero:

Contact Rick Snyder:

Contact your Representative:

Contact your Senator:


“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.”

                                                                                                                                                         – Albert Einstein


Leave a comment

Filed under Breaking News, Detroit News, Horse Racing, Law, Politics, Sports

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s