Gloucester Park, Hesperia deal a ‘one-horse race’, court told


The passage on the alleged conflict of interest was part of two dozen sentences that were cut from Margaret’s sworn testimony that were deemed argumentative, speculative or not based on fact.

Margaret has long claimed that the online voting process was flawed, that key information was withheld, and that the case leaned heavily in favor of the proposal.

The former racing driver told the court he believed the case before members lacked balance and should have highlighted reduced capacity, difficulties developing the venue and the long-term consequences of preserving one of the smallest circuits in the country.

He accused the association of failing to obtain an independent land valuation and failing to publish to its merits the findings of the KPMG report believed to have helped secure $24.7 million in funding from Racing and Wagering WA.

The association’s lawyer, Alan Hershowitz, defended the integrity of the voting system, insisting that members were informed in advance of the commercial sensitivity of the valuation and that no voting system is foolproof.

He also defended the nature of the development deal, insisting any developer of this size would want such an exclusive deal.

Hershowitz questioned the motives of Margaretic, who resigned from the committee nearly a year after he was suspended from defending a criminal charge, claiming he was disaffected and intended to cause “chaos.”

“Margaretic’s tactics were clearly a continuation of attacks on WATA and the Commission for other purposes, including allegations of fraud,” he told the court.

“You need to be able to trust this person’s approach to be just and fair.

“The threatening allegations, the implied wrongdoing, they put Margaret in a certain light.

“If there was a new referendum, you’d get the same complaints from this guy. It’s relentless.

“He was ready for them, just to create chaos.”

He also told the court that Margaret had done nothing to unsolicit or make any other viable proposals to further the interests of the association.

Hershowitz acknowledged that the new stands would significantly reduce attendee capacity, but said Margaretic’s submitted numbers and claims about the impact on revenue were unsubstantiated.

WA Trotting Association chief executive Michael Radley previously told today The group is confident in its process and is expected to speak out on Friday.

Margaretic had asked for an injunction preventing the association from completing the 5.9-hectare sale until his lawsuit over the credibility of the referendum that paved the way for the deal was determined.

He wants the court to invalidate the referendum, which the association claims has majority support.

The court bid is likely to delay the development, with execution of the land sale deal expected to take place in a few months.

Justice Kenneth Martin has expressed the court’s reluctance to interfere in the committee’s decision-making process, saying it would only do so if there were omissions significant enough to cause members to walk away from the deal.

Margaretic resigned from the committee in August, nearly a year after he was fired after he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman at the scene without her consent.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges and is scheduled for a five-day trial in October.

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