WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?

Maybe it would be better titled “What the hell is going on here?”

Simply put, Halsey Minor is suing the city of Hialeah.

At first blush, that doesn’t make much sense. However, a closer look reveals an interesting strategy by the entrepreneur and horse racing fan.

Minor, the techo-millionaire who owns and operates Carter’s Grove Plantation in Williamsburg, has been unable to make a deal to purchase Hialeah Park from owner John Burnetti, so now he’s suing the city of Hialeah.

Evidently, Minor believes that the city of Hialeah had no right to transfer the property to Brunetti back in 2004. Minor’s Save Hialeah Racing Inc., which was formed to “educate the public regarding the value of continued Thoroughbred racing in South Florida,” filed a lawsuit claminig the city can’t transfer its property without an “approval of the electorate in a referendum.” Minor’s lawsuit suggests that Brunetti only operates Hialeah as a lessee, and Brunetti may be in default.

Hey, maybe he’s on to something.

In 2008, Minor was unable to make a deal with Brunetti who has been a controversial figure in racing since his purchase of the South Florida fixture back in 1977. Once one of the most beautiful racetracks in America, Hialeah ceased live racing in 2001 and is now in a collapsing state of disrepair. The barn area has been torn down, and the remaining facility suffered major damage from Hurricane Wilma in 2005.

Frustrated with Brunetti, Minor has turned to the courts in his bid to purchase and renovate the 206-acre property that is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is an official sanctuary for the American Flamingos that helped make the track famous.

It would seem logical that the city would be easier to deal with than Brunetti.

(Thanks to the Paulick Report for the copy of the lawsuit linked above.)