Bankruptcy Filing for Yavapai Downs Operator

The Yavapai County Farm & Agriculture Association, which operates Yavapai Downs in Prescott Valley, Ariz., announced July 13 that it has filed for protection under Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

In a statement, the organization’s board of directors said it would be pursuing various options with parties interested in the property that the YCFAA took over from the Yavapai County Fair Association in 2009.

“While it is with deep regret that we take this step today, it is with great energy and optimism for tomorrow that we approach the challenge of revitalizing this property,” the statement said. “Toward that end, we have entered into detailed discussions with many interested parties, and, in the weeks to come, we will begin discussions with many of the nation’s top business people. They have made known their strong interest in, and their desire to pursue, the opportunities this facility will provide in the future.”

The board said attorney Randy Nussbaum, a certified specialist in business bankruptcy, would be its representative through the process.

In addition to the race meet, the YCFAA also operates the Yavapai County Fair and the Coors Event Center, and it leases a portion of fairgrounds’ property to the privately run Prescott Valley (motorsports) Raceway.

In late May, the Yavapai Downs announced that it was cancelling the 2011 meet scheduled to open May 28 and run through Sept. 6.

At the time, the YCFAA had payments due on a loan of approximately $13 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture stemming from construction of the track 10 years ago and refinancing in 2009. Last year, Yavapai was reassessed as a commercial rather than a non-profit agricultural entity, changing its annual property taxes from $30,000 to $349,000.

Mullaney, who became the general manager this past January, said the Yavapai County Assessor’s Office has since decreased that $349,000 assessment by some $90,000.

The YCFAA said the status of the 2011 county fair remains uncertain.

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