Curlin's Minority Interest Transferred

Curlin's Minority Interest Transferred
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
2007 Horse of the Year Curlin should now be able to run anywhere.
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Management of the minority interest in reigning Horse of the Year Curlin and other horses has been transferred to the control of a court-appointed receiver, a move which majority owner Stonestreet Stables says clears the way for the champion horse to race at any venue.

Kentucky state judge Roger Crittenden signed an order July 1 which places control of all assets owned by Tandy LLC into the hands of an interim receiver, including the minority interest in Curlin, which is owned 20% by the Midnight Cry Stables operated by jailed attorneys Shirley Cunningham Jr. and William Gallion.

The order was signed in a Boone County civil case that includes as defendants Cunningham and Gallion, who are awaiting a jury verdict in a separate federal criminal trial. The two lawyers are accused of bilking clients they once represented out of $65 million in a class-action lawsuit settlement involving the diet-drug Fen-Phen.

Plaintiffs in the civil case last year were awarded a $42-million judgment by a previous judge, and representative attorneys have been working since to get some assets into their hands. Crittenden chastised Tandy for defying previous directives from the bench, which among other issues, ordered the interim receiver to pay owed bills.

"It now appears that the decisions being made in the management of Tandy LLC are not conforming to at least the spirit of prior court orders and may be in direct violation of those orders," the judge wrote. "It also appears that the management decisions ... are not being made to benefit the organization, but may actually diminish the value of the LLC."

The order should clear up any jurisdictional issues in regard to where Curlin can race, an attorney with Stonestreet Stables said July 2.

“They (Cunningham and Gallion) basically have no say in any of the horses at this point,” said attorney Richard Getty, who represents the Stonestreet Stables operation of Jess Jackson and his wife, Barbara Banke. “I think this is a very positive development in terms of the ability to race Curlin in any jurisdiction. We hope it is viewed as such by such racing authorities.”

New York officials recently said that Curlin could not run in the state, because all of the owners, and subsequent leasers, could not be licensed. The connections of Curlin are reportedly considering a run in the Oct. 5 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I), and are examining options for a turf prep, including the July 12 Man o’ War Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park.

Einstein, a grade I winner wholly owned by Tandy/Midnight Cry Stables, was also mentioned in the order. Crittenden said the court was informed that Einstein and the minority interest in Curlin were both leased “for racing purposes only” to the respective wife and girlfriend of Cunningham and Gallion, Patricia Cunningham and Melissa Green.

“However it appears that Ms. Cunningham and Ms. Green have received sums as a result of race participation by both Curlin and Einstein … (and) those sums have not been turned over to the interim receiver,” Crittenden wrote.

In summary, Crittenden wrote, “This court orders that the interim receiver shall take control of the management decisions of Tandy LLC, to receive all income of the LLC, and to pay all appropriate and necessary expenses of the LLC.”

Attempts to obtain immediate reaction from New York racing authorities were unsuccessful.

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