Vernon Downs Officials Appeal Denial of Licenses

Mid-State Raceway key investor Shawn Scott and board chairman Hoolae Paoa, president and chief executive officer of the company's Vernon Downs, Miracle Isle Gaming Resort, and Miracle Isle video gaming facility subsidiaries, have appealed a decision by the New York State Racing and Wagering Board to deny their requests for permanent licenses.

The NYSRWB ruled that Scott and Paoa were "unfit to be involved in racing," according to a company statement. Both had been operating the company with temporary licenses.

In a release, Mid-State said Martin Gersten, an attorney for the company who has called the charges "baseless," filed an appeal with the NYSRWB for a hearing on the matter. He also plans to ask a state Supreme Court judge to allow Scott and Paoa to continue their involvement with the track while the appeal is pending, the statement said.

Paoa has stepped aside as Mid-State Raceway's chief administrator, and Dave Wilson, the company's vice president of racing and facilities, has been named to run the track in the interim. Live racing has ended for the season at Vernon Downs but simulcasting continues. Opening of a parlor to house video lottery terminals has been put on hold.

Mid-State Raceway has an application before the NYSRWB to conduct 120 programs of live harness racing in 2004, and to continue its year-around simulcasting operations. A separate application to operate a gaming facility in the state has been submitted to the New York Lottery Division.

Vernon Downs currently has annual payroll of more than $2.8 million.