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Historic Mile: Stick a fork in it, it's done
Historic Mile LLC, the group that wanted to promote races at the Milwaukee Mile, failed to show Wisconsin State Fair any money Friday.

The group's failure to meet a deadline the State Fair had imposed put the future of the historic racetrack in jeopardy again and raises questions about whether anyone will surface to promote the two races NASCAR scheduled next summer at the track and beyond.

Craig Barkelar, the State Fair's interim executive director, conceded Friday afternoon what many had suspected in the racing community: Historic Mile and its two known investors didn't have the money, or at least enough of it, to move forward and sign a lease agreement.

"Everyone that Historic Mile was counting on has backed out at the last moment," Barkelar said.

Asked whether Historic Mile had identified its potential backers, Barkelar said no. Asked whether the State Fair felt misled by Historic Mile's promises that it could close the deal, Barkelar said: "I believe they were working with people at the start."

Oct. 15 deadline

In an interview, Historic Mile partner Tony Machi declined to identify his backers, said he had been given until Oct. 15 to come up with enough investor backing and insisted he would succeed.

Asked to identify his investors, Machi said: "I don't want to do business in public. We'll be able to show them on the 15th."

One such apparent lender is Frank Giuffre, a local businessman and former race promoter who has not been secret about his interest in taking over the track. Giuffre provided to the Journal Sentinel a copy of a financing agreement he said Machi drafted and gave him. The agreement calls for Giuffre to lend Machi $2.5 million at 6% interest.

Giuffre said he won't lend Machi the money. Giuffre also showed a letter he drafted asking Machi to recommend him to State Fair for the race promotion contract.

Machi didn't sign it. Asked whether he would recommend Giuffre should he fail, Machi said: "No comment."

Machi also declined to comment on the loan, adding: "I will tell the whole story when this deal is done - good, bad or otherwise."  JSOnline

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