CDI, Fair Grounds Begin Negotiating Potential Sale

Negotiations with Churchill Downs Inc. officials over the potential sale of Fair Grounds commenced Thursday afternoon but several issues remain unresolved, including whether current Fair Grounds president Bryan Krantz would maintain a position with the track.

Fair Grounds has until Monday to file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization plan and if a deal with CDI is not made before then the track could be put up for auction, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. CDI has offered $45 million to buy the track with $33 million going to Louisiana horsemen to satisfy an $89.9 million debt a Louisiana court ruled is owed by the track for improperly withholding video poker revenue.

CDI emerged as the favorite to buy Fair Grounds after upping its offer earlier this week from $28.5 million. CDI already has a signed letter of intent from the Louisiana Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association agreeing to the $33 million payment.

According to the Times-Picayune, among the topics still to be ironed out between Fair Grounds and CDI is whether Krantz would maintain a minority interest, whether CDI would offer Krantz money to end his run at Fair Grounds, and how to deal with a private company owned by the Krantz family, Finish Line Management, that runs five of Fair Grounds 11 off-track betting parlors.

CDI has already offered to buy the six other OTB's.

Other potential buyers that had expressed interest in Fair Grounds have apparently dropped out of the running. Louie Roussell III, who formerly owned Fair Grounds, previously offered $30 million but told officials he did not plan to make another bid. Mike Pegram has also removed himself from the running.