Turf Paradise Owner Reportedly Being Investigated

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.