Owner Sells Stake in Turf Paradise

Jerry Simms, who purchased Turf Paradise in January 2000 for a reported $53-55 million, sold his stake in the Phoenix racetrack Tuesday. Simms was forced to sell the track by state regulators after the Arizona Department of Racing revoked his licence in October 2001.

Simms sold his majority stake in the track's managing general partnership to his brother, Ronald Simms, a Los Angeles real estate investor. Ronald Simms has been approved by the state of Arizona to operate the track. Ronald Simms already owns 32% of the track.

Jerry Simms' equity interest goes into a irrevocable trust to benefit his children and his brother's children. He will continue to own about 100 acres of the Turf Paradise property, a parcel with barns and stables on it.

In October, regulators cited Simms' alleged ties to organized crime and involvement in a California bribery scandal as reasons to pull his license.

Jerry Simms was granted a license in May 2000 by the Arizona Department of Racing despite evidence of possible bribery. An investigation revealed a $2.2 million series of loans from Simms to former casino owner Allen Glick, whom federal authorities have called a front for organized crime interests.

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