Frank DeFrancis, president of Laurel Race Course, said yesterday that contrary to recent press reports, he does have majority ownership of the track.
"I own 55 percent of the corporation that has operational and managerial control of Laurel," DeFrancis said. The remainder, DeFrancis said, is owned by Bob and Tom Manfuso, both vice presidents of the track, and Lou Guida of Yardley, Pa.
Guida, a prominent owner of harness horses, describes his role as that of a "limited partner."
DeFrancis' group paid $15.5 million last December to John Schapiro for the racing assets of Laurel and half of Bowie Race Course, which is now a training track. DeFrancis said that to take advantage of tax laws pertaining to real estate, a group headed by Guida had a 50 percent equity interest in case Laurel ever was sold.
There were reports this week in which Guida was said to own 50 percent of the race track. But these reports were incorrect, according to DeFrancis and Guida.
"I bought shares in a limited partnership and I have no say or equity ownership in the track or its management," Guida said yesterday. "The 50 percent figure simply means that if the track was ever sold, and the general partnership defaulted in its payments to the limited partnership, my protection would be up to 50 percent of the sale."
Guida declined to say how much money he had invested, but did say, "I receive a percentage of my investment annually, as well as a bonus, depending on business."