A Baltimore County court has issued an arrest warrant for William M. Jennings, the Loudoun County contractor who led the unsuccessful campaign for pari-mutuel betting in Virginia last year on charges that he and his son failed to pay for two horses they auctioned in Maryland.
The warrants charged Jennings and his son, W. Michael Jennings, with larceny of trust, a felony under Maryland law. They are accused of failing to pay two New York horse owners for quarter horses they sold at an Oct. 14 auction in Timonium
The Jenningses conducted the auction through the family-owned East Coast Sales, based at the Jennings farm south of Leesburg, Va.
William Jennings said yesterday in a telephone interview that he had not seen the warrants, but added, "I don't think I've violated any laws anywhere."
Jennings, an officer of Virginians for Horse Racing, said that financial problems in both the construction business and in East Coast Sales, his horse business, have forced him to put his farm up for sale. "We have a high number of accounts receivable," he said.
Jennings said, however, that he would pay off an estimated $20,000 he owes to horse owners by the end of this week, with interest. "We're here," he said. "We're not going anywhere."
Salvatore N. Butta, chief commissioner of the Towson District Court, said that Virginia State Police would be notified of the warrants probably Tuesday, and would be asked to place the Jenningses under arrest.
Michael Jennings, who could not be reached for comment yesterday, is involved in Professional Auction Services Inc., a successor to East Coast Sales, which is no longer active, his father said.
William Jennings said he believed that one of the New York horse owners who charged him had not been paid because the New Yorker had failed to supply Jennings with papers for his horse, a normal condition of sale.
He said he did not know why the other man complained. "We aren't late according to my contract with those people," he said.
Jennings, who receives a 5 percent commission on sales and a $125 catalogue fee per horse, said delays of up to three months are not uncommon in paying owners after horse auctions. Several Maryland horse owners said, however, that payment is normally expected within 30 days.