Shapiro to Enter Plea in Car Vandalism Case

Former California Horse Racing Board leader is scheduled to appear in court July 28.

Richard B. Shapiro, the former California Horse Racing Board chairman, is to enter a plea July 28 to a charge of felony vandalism in connection with damage done to the vehicle of his longtime antagonist Jerry Jamgotchian at Hollywood Park this spring.

Shapiro, 56, is scheduled to appear in Department 5 at the Inglewood Courthouse, according to a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. The deputy district attorney handling the arraignment is Christine Johnston. Shapiro was formally charged July 6.

Jamgotchian filed a civil complaint against Shapiro with the Los Angeles County Superior Court  July 13 seeking unspecified punitive and exemplary damages over the alleged incident. He claims that damage to his vehicle totaled $6,750, which he also seeks to recover.

Shapiro is alleged to have used a key or blunt instrument to scrape the 2008 black Jaguar sedan belonging to Jamgotchian, a horse owner who was attending a meeting of the CHRB at the Hollywood Park Casino on April 24, the day the damage was reported.

Jamgotchian has been a vocal critic of the CHRB for several years and often clashed with Shapiro at meetings and through widely distributed e-mails.

Inglewood police, who investigated the case before turning it over to the district attorney's office in June, said at the time that it had reviewed tape from a surveillance camera that is purported to show the commission of the crime.

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 has also filed a formal complaint with the CHRB in Sacramento seeking to have Shapiro's racing license revoked. Shapiro has declined to comment. He is represented by attorney Philip Israels.