Maryland Racing Commission chairman J. Newton Brewer blocked a 1972 inquiry into the true owners of the Marlboro Race Track by claiming that since the owners "were local people, there was no need to investigate them," a commission member testified today.
Commissioner Carle A. Jackson told the jury at the Marvin Mandel political corruption trial that Brewer, who has since resigned, broke with the established procedure of inviting new track owners to a meeting to introduce themselves to the commission.
"I was brainwashed and rocked to sleep," Jackson said when trying to explain why he allowed he allowed Brewer to quash an investigation he had begun.
The "local" owners were, in fact, Mandel friends and codefendants W. Dale Hess, William A. Rodgers, Harry W. Rodgers and Ernest N. Cory Jr. The federal prosecutors also allege that codefendant Irvin Kovens was the secret majority stock owner but that"nominee" or front man, lrving T. Schwartz.
In 1972, Cory was the only defendant whose name appeared as an owner of record, along with other people who served as "nominees." One of these nominees was J. O. Purvis, a personal friend of Jackson. This made the commissioner suspicious.
Jackson testified that he asked Cory who really owned the 175,000 shares listed under Cory's name and the Prince George's County attorney refused to answer. "That is a lawyer-client relationship," he allegedly told Jackson.
The degree of secrety maintained by track owners is crucial to the prosecution's charge that Mandel lobbied for favorable legislation for the Marlboro course to benefit has friends who hid their interest. In return the multicount indictment allege, Mandel received over $350,000 worth of gifts and favors as bribes in a scheme to defraud the citizens of Maryland.
The racing commission sponsored 1972 legislation that would have provided enormous profits for the half-mile Marlboro course by providing it with 58 more racing days. Chairman Brewer presented the commission members with the proposed legislation and told them "there wasn't enough time to discuss the bill, . . . there would be time later to amend it," Jackson testified.
The time never came, he said. Three years later, Jackson testified that he learned that Brewer had met with the secret owners at Tidewater Insurance Company to work out the bill before he presented it to the commission.
This year Brewer turned down Mandel's bid to reappoint him as chairman of the commission. apparently because he was reluctant to appear before hostile state senators for confirmation hearings.Brewer had repeatedly denied knowing the real owners when asked by the legislators.
Jackson's appearance comes at the last stage of the prosecution's presentation and the 29th trial day. "Maryland Horse" Magazine editor Snowden Carter also testified today that the track's true owners were hidden from him. Carter also testified today that the track's true owners were hidden from him. Carter was called by the prosecutors to help establish the secrecy surrounding the ownership while important racing legislation was pending in Annapolis.
As general manager of the Maryland Horsebreeders Association and edd he visited Cory in 1972 to write an article about the new owners of Marlboro.
Submitting the article into evidence caused a minor furor in court. Norman Ramsey, attorney for Kovens, succeeded in deleting the last line of the piece that read: "Irvin Kovens won't have to pay his way in through the gate."
After the trial Kovens chuckled that he never paid to enter any race course.