News Story

Horse Race Track Says Wayne County “Perfectly Comfortable” With Controversial Land Deal

Wayne County was aware of a horse racing track's plans to sell some of the 240 acres of land it bought from the county for $1, according to Carl Herstein, an attorney representing Post It Stables, the corporation that owns Pinnacle Race Course.

The Huron Township race course became the subject of an internal investigation by the county after it was learned that Post It Stables sold seven acres of the land to the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians for $179,000. The seven acres was part of 240 acres bought from Wayne County for $1.

Carl Herstein, a partner in the Honigman, Miller, Schwartz and Cohn law firm, said county officials were "perfectly comfortable" with the track selling the $1 land because it was part of a bigger plan to attract development to the region.

When asked if the county approved of the land being sold to an Indian tribe, which would remove it from the county tax rolls, Herstein said, "You'd have to ask them."

Wayne County Deputy Chief Executive Azzam Elder said in an e-mail that he was out of town last week and would look into the matter when he returned.  Wayne County Administrator Robert Ficano didn't respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

Herstein said the track ownership is considering the sale of five more parcels, although he didn't know how large the parcels would be.

Documents from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation talk about the horse racing as part of a redevelopment of the racing area.

Herstein said Post It Stables, owner of the race track, has spent a lot of money on infrastructure improvements on the property, such as more than $1 million spent on drain improvements.

Wayne County Commissioner Ed Boike has called for an internal investigation of Wayne County's dealings with Post It Stables.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.