Arizona Gov. Jane Hull has ordered state regulators to investigate Turf Paradise owner Jeremy (Jerry) Simms on the heels of allegations he was connected to a casino owner who fronted for organized crime. The story appeared in the Sept. 2 edition of the Arizona Republic
Simms, managing partner of TP Racing, was licensed by the Arizona Racing Commission in May. The state's gaming department has yet to rule on a related permit. In a letter, Hull's attorney, Lisa Daniel Flores, noted the racing commission granted Simms a permit even though he "admitted participation in several bribery schemes in California," the newspaper reported.
Simms, who has no criminal record, purchased Turf Paradise for $53 million earlier this year. He didn't comment on the published allegations.
State investigators are said to be looking into a possible relationship between Simms and jockey Patrick Valenzuela, who has been suspended repeatedly for drug violations in California.