Above, May 25, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier of the Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino sign facing towards south-bound U.S.-1/Federal Highway, off Hibiscus Street in Hallandale Beach.
I've noted previously on this blog with both dismay and incredulity the self-evident fact that Gulfstream Park/Magna Entertainment Corp. has consistently been so negligent about properly maintaining this valuable property that it has inspired well-deserved ridicule in the community.
For instance, as I've mentioned previously, the spotlights on the ground that are supposed to illuminate the sign above at night haven't worked since 2008, and the light on the left of the picture has not even had an actual bulb since 2009, which is why this sign on a major South Florida road is pitch black at night. Not exactly the smartest marketing decision, no?
Frankly, it's only been because I've been so busy writing about other matters, including the community fight against the Diplomat LAC proposal and the attempted shoe-horning of a Ben Gamla charter high school into a single-family neighborhood that I didn't run numerous posts here utilizing the dozens and dozens of photos I have that clearly illustrate how very poorly this so-called entertainment center has been operated and maintained.
Despite having the better part of an entire year, and knowing how crucial it was that they appear to be on top of things, Gulfstream/MEC couldn't even mange to have their own electronic message boards on both U.S.-1 and Hallandale Beach Blvd. constructed and operating before the racing season opened in January, which made it look shabby and third-class.
This embarrassing snails pace of theirs, almost a sense of obliviousness, also meant that the message signs were NOT available to effectively promote the retail shops that were open over the holiday season, when they needed all the help they could get. It was weeks into the racing season before the electronic message signs were up and working properly.
To any reasonable observer, it was almost like they were considered an after-thought, and not a tool to be properly utilized, but then look how they waste the sign they already had?
This very unprofessional laissez-faire attitude towards aesthetics, maintenance and marketing raises serious questions in my mind and many others as to whether or not the people currently running Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino are fit for the job ahead.
Above and below, May 30, 2010 photo by South Beach Hoosier of the monument signs and U.S.-1 entrance to both Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino and The Village at Gulfstream Park retail complex.
I received a link to this very troubling Toronto Star story just before 10 p.m. Thursday night as a result of a my "Hallandale Beach" Google Alert.
This continues the long streak of bad financial news for Gulfstream Park owner Frank Stronach, some of which I've detailed on this blog, and this latest news is perhaps the most unsettling, though getting some firm financial numbers may prove quite elusive until the trial that's described below begins.
When the largest employer in the city is having severe financial problems, and some vocal shareholders want to go to court to force the sale of the main asset and element of the enterprise, the Racetrack, there's more than enough reason to be legitimately concerned.
Still, any legal action that intends to pursue, among other things, "a declaration that the company made “misleading” public statements" is not music to Hallandale Beach taxpayers ears, given the amount of city taxpayer's money that has walked across U.S.-1 from HB City Hall to the enterprises located over there.
It's time for someone at Gulfstream to publicly show some long overdue gumption and common sense and finally leave the PR histrionics behind for a change, and instead, be straight and address the HB community's reasonable concerns about its future as a viable racetrack, rather than continuing to engage in their current unsuccessful "no comment" routine, which satisfies nobody and just irritates people who are paying attention.
Hearing "no comment" too many more times in the near future will inevitably lead to even louder public doubts and media commentary, and a corresponding taxpayer/customer vote of "no confidence" with their feet and wallets & purses for both the racetrack and retail complex, even though they are, of course, legally separate entities.
Frankly, I was a little surprised that a newspaper as large as the Toronto Star is still using an artists rendering in their article so long after Gulfstream Park was re-done, and the initial stage of The Village at Gulfstream Park (VAGP) opened -in November.
Also, if you look carefully, most of the rendering below is not of Gulfstream, per se, that Stronach & Co. own, but rather of the VAGP retail area that Gulfstream is a partner to but NOT the owner of, per state law.
I may just have to send the Star some of my new photos of the complex for their records.
Shareholders sue MI Developments Group of U.S. investors claim Stronach and directors improperly used MID to prop up money-losing Magna Entertainment.
July 7, 2010
Tony Van Alphen Business Reporter
Big investors in MI Developments Inc. have sued the company, controlling shareholder Frank Stronach and numerous directors for their role in allegedly propping up his money-losing horse racing venture before and after its collapse last year.
In seeking millions of dollars in compensation, five U.S.-based investment firms say in a statement of claim that MI engaged in a “myriad of connected related party loans and other transactions” with racetrack and gambling operator Magna Entertainment Corp. (MEC) to ensure its assets remained under Stronach’s control and not sold to third parties.
The sentence that really jumps out at you is this one towards the middle of the story:
Some of the investment firms have complained about MI’s continuing heavy support of MEC for years and pressed the board to divest the horse racing assets and make the company a pure real estate play.
Read the entire article at:
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Friday, July 9, 2010
Even more troubling news for beleaguered Gulfstream Park Race Track & Casino in Hallandale Beach and its owner, Frank Stronach
Hallandale Beach Blog is where I try to inject or superimpose a degree of accountability, transparency and insight onto Florida and local Broward County government and public policy issues, which I feel is sorely lacking in local media now. On this blog, locally, I concentrate my energy, enthusiasm, anger and laser-like attention on the coastal cities of Hallandale Beach, Hollywood and Aventura.
If you lived in this part of South Florida, you'd ALREADY be stuck in stultifying traffic, paying higher-than-necessary taxes and continually musing about the chronic lack of accountability among not only elected govt. officials, but also of city, county and state employees as well. Collectively, with a few rare exceptions, they couldn't be farther from the sort of strong results-oriented, eager work-ethic mentality that local residents deserve and expect. But seldom if ever see...
This is particularly true in the Broward County city I live in, the City of Hallandale Beach, north of Aventura and south of Hollywood and right on the Atlantic Ocean. Here, the "Perfect Storm" of years of apathy, incompetency and cronyism are all too readily apparent. Sadly for its beleaguered residents, HB is where even easily-solved, quality-of-life problems are left to fester for YEARS on end, because of myopia, lack of common sense and ineffective supervisory management. It's a city with tremendous potential because of its terrific location and well-educated populace, yet its citizens have almost become numb to HB City Hall's frequent outrages and screw-ups, the result of YEARS of the worst kind of mismanagement and lack of foresight. On a daily basis, residents and Small Business owners wake up and see the same old problems that have never being adequately resolved by the city in a logical and responsible fashion, merely kicked -once again- further down the road for others to solve in the future.
I used to ask myself, not always rhetorically, "Where are all the enterprising young reporters who want to show that through their own hard work and enterprise, what REAL investigative reporting can produce?" Hearing no response, I decided to start a blog of my own that could try to do some of these things, taking the p.o.v. of a reasonable-but-skeptical person seeing the situation for the first time with fresh eyes, and wanting questions answered in a honest and logical way that citizens have the right to expect.
Hallandale Beach Blog intends to be a catalyst for positive change in public policy and goivernment engagement. If there's one constant gripe in South Florida, regardless of your age, race, nationality or political persuasion, it's about the fundamental lack of PUBLIC ACCOUNTABILITY of Florida's state, regional and local govt./agency officials, elected and otherwise. Hallandale Beach Blog aims to be a small step towards regaining some of that needed accountability, whether it's thru shining some well-needed public scrutiny on the issue or pol, or requires a higher degree of follow-up investigation and public exposure of the incompetency, cronyism or negligence -South Florida's usual governing style.
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