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Denial of Gretna-Related Florida Pari-Mutuel Permit Reveals Origins of Phony Horse Racing Network

August 23, 2013
THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA’S Dara Kam reported this week on the denial of a Florida pari-mutuel permit to Ft. Myers Real Estate Holdings.  The subject litigation has been spearheaded by David Romanik, who is also a co-owner of Gretna Racing LLC, a North Florida pari-mutuel licensee that continues to hold contrived “flag drop” contests, despite a scathing court ruling declaring events such as “pari-mutuel barrel racing” to be illegal.
Ft. Meyers Real Estate Holdings, a company for which Romanik is listed as an officer and registered agent, first attempted to secure a Gretna-like permit in Lee County (southwest Florida), then in Miami-Dade County, and then in Florida City (near Homestead).   Just one month before issuing the 2011 Gretna racing license, the Florida Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering lost a battle over Romanik’s legal fees in Ft. Meyers Real Estate Holdings, LLC v. Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering (DOAH Case No. 11-1722FC)
To read the entire August 6, 2013 Ft. Meyers ruling, go to:
Kam’s investigative report (reprinted below) illuminates the “tangled web of relationships among gambling lobbyists, regulators and politicians”—such as the now-incarcerated Jim Greer—involved in the network of pari-mutuel permits under which phony horse racing continues to be licensed and perpetrated in Florida.
The ouster of longtime Florida pari-mutuel regulator Dave Roberts was explained this week in Kam’s story was preceded by Mary Ellen Klas’ 2012 Miami Herald report detailing the departure of then-Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering Director Milton Champion, who refused to approve Gretna’s “pari-mutuel barrel racing” in 2011.
Champion said he was subsequently asked to resign by Florida Governor Rick Scott’s then-Chief of Staff Steve Mcnamera—who was employed in 2009 by then-Pennington, Moore, Wilkinson, Bell & Dunbar, the same firm at which Marc Dunbar–another Gretna co-owner–worked.  Dunbar, a lawyer/lobbyist, was also involved in the Ft. Meyers Real Estate Holdings saga as an expert witness.
To access the Pennington bill to Romanik for legal work in the 2011 Ft. Myers case, go to: