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Horse Races at Chicago's Maywood Track a Thing of the Past?

Posted on in Bankruptcy Attorney Illinois
Horse Races at Chicago's Maywood Track a Thing of the Past?

Chicago's Maywood Park, a half-mile-long racetrack that has hosted harness racing events for the past 68 years, filed for bankruptcy alongside its sister track, Balmoral Park, in early summer 2015. The park wants to close its track early this year in an effort that, according to its bankruptcy plan, could save $165,000. However, closing early would mean evicting the 100 horses and 50 people who currently live in the park's housing facilities. These individuals, represented by the Illinois Harness Horseman's Association, are fighting the racetrack in court to keep the park open longer.

Bankruptcy is complicated. The horse tracks' bankruptcy case involves more than the simple mismanagement of profits – it comes as a result of the park's losing a legal battle against Illinois' riverboat casinos. In December 2014, the court ruled in favor of the casino operators, who alleged that the racetrack's owners illegally pledged to donate to former governor Blagojevich's campaign in exchange for a renewed tax on the riverboats. The judgment was for $82 million. The racetracks then filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in an attempt to avoid paying this money.

Chapter 11 Allows Companies to Continue Operation

With Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a business develops a plan to repay its debt while remaining in operation. Part of this plan is a reorganization of its management and business tactics to prevent going into debt again. For the racing industry in Illinois, closing the racetracks would put many individuals out of work and considerably hamper its future.

Unlike in years prior, the Illinois Racing Board Commissioners opted to renew the park's operating licenses on a month-to-month basis, rather than for an entire calendar year, because of the legal and financial issues they were facing at the beginning of 2015. The racetracks employ approximately 240 people. Currently, the plan for the resident racers of Maywood Park is for them to move to Balmoral Park, a larger facility with a longer racetrack. Currently, both parks are up for sale. Racetrack officials hope that fixing financial problems at both tracks will enable them to win race dates from the state's racing board next year. The racing board determines which parks may continue to operate based on their financial standing.

Illinois Bankruptcy Attorneys

Knowing whether filing for bankruptcy is the right choice for you can be difficult. Talk it over with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before you make any decisions. Your attorney can walk you through the bankruptcy process and examine your debt and your other obligations to determine if bankruptcy is the right choice. He or she can also help you explore alternatives to bankruptcy. Remember, bankruptcy is a tool that you can use to regain control of your debt. It is not a magic bullet to eliminating your responsibilities nor is it a punishment. At The Law Offices of Newland & Newland, LLP, we can provide the guidance you need to make the right choice about handling your debt responsibly.

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