Investor group pulling out of Milwaukee Mile UPDATE #2 Dominic and Frank Giuffre, brothers and former racing promoters, say they are going to take a pass on making a bid to take over racing at the Milwaukee Mile.
Dominic Giuffre said he and his brother met with Wisconsin State Fair officials, but didn't like what they were hearing.
"The feeling we were getting is that they wanted to have the same kind of deal they have with the present promoter," Dominic Giuffre said.
Milwaukee Mile Holdings, the current promoter, have told fair officials they will exercise their option to get out of racing in December 2010. Milwaukee Mile Holdings had paid $700,000 last year in licensing fees, but was limited by the number of days it had access to the racetrack.
"I don't think any group will make a bid," Dominic Giuffre said. JSOnline12/26/08 The future of motor sports at the Milwaukee Mile is in doubt after Wisconsin State Fair Park officials announced Tuesday that the investor group now promoting events at the track plans to get out of the business by December 2010.
Milwaukee Mile Holdings LLC is led by two Californians, Frank J. Andrews and David O. Stroud, but includes several prominent local investors, including local philanthropists Chris Abele and Dan Bader, Ulice Payne Jr., chairman of the Bradley Center Sports and Entertainment Corp., and auto dealer David Hobbs.
The group had asked the board to reopen its licensing agreement because it was losing money. The board said no, prompting the group to exercise its right to opt out by December 2010.
Milwaukee Mile has said that, since taking over the historic racetrack in December 2005, it lost $2.1 million in 2006 and $1.5 million in 2007. This year it expects to lose $1.2 million.
The group's latest proposal called for dropping the annual license fee, estimated at $700,000 this year, and for the right to develop a parcel near the Pettit National Ice Center.
Earlier this year, the board agreed to lower the annual license fee but also reduced the number of days Milwaukee Mile can promote events at the track. At the time the board indicated it would not redo the agreement again.
In the meantime, former racing promoters Dominic Giuffre and his brother, Frank, say they are looking at getting back into the business. Dominic Giuffre said Tuesday that his brother met this week with State Fair board Chairman Susan Crane, Craig Barkelar, the fair's chief financial officer, and state Rep. Scott Gunderson (R-Waterford), who also sits on the fair board.
Gunderson is considered to be a leading candidate to take over as the fair's executive director. The current director, Randy Prasse, has announced his resignation after a power struggle with the board.
Dominic Giuffre said that, besides his brother, the new group includes John Kaishian, owner of the Crystal Ridge ski hill in Franklin and longtime owner of the old Hales Corners Speedway. Also in the Giuffre group is Chuck Decker and his father, Richard, who are the owner-operators of the World Championship Snowmobile Derby in Eagle River.
Dominic Giuffre also said John Menard, chairman of Menards and a motorsports fan, was part of the group. Menard has not returned phone calls seeking comment on his possible involvement.
"If this makes sense for us, we'll do a deal," Dominic Giuffre said Tuesday. "We're looking at the numbers."
Milwaukee Mile officials said at least four races were still scheduled for next season, beginning with the IndyCar Series from May 29-31.
Evan Zeppos, a Milwaukee Mile spokesman, said, "While we have tendered our option to terminate, if the state were to come back to us, we would listen to them." jsonline.com12/08/08 Milwaukee Mile Holdings LLC, the investor group running the Milwaukee Mile racetrack, is opening the door for a new operator to take over.
The group has given permission to Wisconsin State Fair Park officials to talk to other interested promoters, according to Evan Zeppos, a spokesman for the group.
"In an effort to help the state, we have granted that permission," Zeppos said.
The group has said that, since taking over the historic racetrack in December 2005, they have lost $2.1 million in 2006 and $1.5 million in 2007. This year they expect to lose $1.2 million. JSonline.com