Audited statements required of area harness and thoroughbred tracks by the Maryland State Racing Commission revealed that Laurel Race Course lost $2.8 million from Dec. 10, 1984, to Oct. 31, 1985, a period that includes 74 racing days. In its next statement, Laurel's figures will reflect the results of about 148 racing days.
According to published reports, Frank DeFrancis, president of Laurel, and Martin Jacobs, general counsel, received more than $700,000 in salaries, professional fees and pension benefits from Laurel and Freestate Raceway during that money-losing period. DeFrancis and Jacobs are officers of both Laurel and Freestate.
Jacobs, whose firm of Ginsberg, Feldman and Bress does the legal work for Freestate and Laurel, said from his office yesterday: "The reality is that when you realize that Frank DeFrancis works 18 hours a day, oversees two businesses [Freestate and Laurel] that generate over $154 million in proceeds, the total salary that he receives of $235,000 means that, in the corporate world at least, he is grossly underpaid. People who operate at his level of efficiency and competence will invariably earn $400,000 to $500,000 a year.
"As for my salary, I earn only $95,000 a year plus whatever small amounts accrue to me from the pension fund that we have for all year-round employes. I do not directly share in the $230,000 total legal fees charged by my law firm, a fee, incidentally, that includes the purchase of Laurel from John Schapiro and encompasses a time period of over a year and one-half."
All of the other tracks audited made money. Pimlico showed a profit of $469,440; Timonium, $117,995; Freestate, $526,838; Rosecroft, $517,283, and Ocean Downs, $239,386.