Shapiro Pleads Not Guilty in Vandalism Case
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 7/24/2009 3:27:52 PM
Last Updated: 7/25/2009 3:16:35 PM
Former California Horse Racing Board chairman Richard B. Shapiro pleaded not guilty to a charge of felony vandalism in an Inglewood courtroom July 24 and the case was set for a disposition hearing on Aug. 18.
The 56-year-old Shapiro is accused of using a key or blunt instrument to scrape the paint of a vehicle belonging to horse owner Jerry Jamgotchian at Hollywood Park on April 24.
Shapiro had been set for arraignment on July 28 but instead appeared ahead of schedule because his attorney, Philip Israels, had a date conflict.
Christine Johnston, a deputy district attorney for Los Angeles County, said the upcoming disposition hearing is to determine if a plea agreement in the case can be reached.
"If it cannot be, it will be set for a preliminary hearing," she said.
If convicted, Shapiro, who resigned his CHRB chairmanship in December after four years, could face a maximum penalty of one year in state prison and a fine of $10,000, or both.
Jamgotchian, a leading critic of the CHRB and especially of Shapiro during his time as chairman, filed a civil complaint against Shapiro with the Los Angeles County Superior Court July 13 seeking unspecified punitive and exemplary damages. He claims that damage to his 2008 black Jaguar sedan totaled $6,750, which he also seeks to recover.
The car was scraped in the track parking lot during a CHRB meeting attended by both men at the Hollywood Park Casino.
Jamgotchian has also filed a formal complaint with the CHRB in Sacramento seeking to have Shapiro ruled off the grounds of all California race tracks and his racing license revoked.
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