Two brothers are locked in a struggle for control of a horse racing track in Phoenix. Jerry Simms and his brother Ronald A. Simms are both vying for ownership of the Turf Paradise track in Phoenix. The brothers, who purchased the track 16 years ago, place the blame on one another. Jerry Simms, majority owner and manager of TP Racing LLP, claims his brother Ron lied about investments in their partnership for years in the hopes of defrauding the state and evading taxes.
Ronald A. Simms, a former TP Racing partner, claims his brother was dishonorable long before they acquired Turf Paradise. He points to his sibling’s past role in a California political-corruption sting, and to financial dealings with a former mob-tied casino operator. Ron alleges millions in misappropriated funds and a “secret backdoor scheme” involving the Arizona courts, politicians, and prosecutors to swindle him.
“We’re a struggling industry,” added Lloyd Yother, president of the Arizona Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, “And, right now, with what the state’s putting on us and what the Simms brothers are doing, it’s putting us out of business.”
Arizona Department of Gaming records indicate declines of 20 percent in on-track attendance, 26 percent in the number of live races, 17 percent in the total betting handle and 18 percent in purses.
At the urging of Jerry and his attorneys, a commission with multiple members having personal ties to Jerry voted to ban Ron from horse racing. In June 2015, after 20 days of testimony, Judge Michael Douglas ruled in Ron’s favor, citing that Jerry’s legal team “collaborated” with Director Walsh to oust Ron. On October 21st, commissioners decided 4-1 that Ron had made “knowingly false statements” and revoked his license.
The denial of Ron Simms’ racing permit is now under appeal in a Maricopa County Superior Court and the latest in a long saga of sibling disputes.