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Kentucky Speedway pays long overdue bill to state police

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By Tom Loftus

The Courier-Journal

FRANKFORT, KY — The Kentucky Speedway on Friday paid a long overdue bill of nearly $300,000 to Kentucky State Police for providing security on the track’s grounds during four major race weeks in 2012 and 2013.

Speedway Motorsports, which owns the track in Gallatin County, sent a check for $299,125.86 by express mail from its corporate headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., said State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer.

The payment was received one day after The Courier-Journal reported that the state police had been pressing the track since last August for the payment.

“We’re glad the issue is resolved. We’re glad to have the money and will certainly put it to good use,” Brewer said Saturday.

A person who answered the phone at Kentucky Speedway offices Saturday referred questions to General Manager Mark Simendinger who could not be reached at his office phone number.

For several years the track has had agreements with the state police to provide security during major events, and the track made timely payments under those agreements through 2011.

But records obtained by The Courier-Journal through the Kentucky Open Records Act showed that the track had not paid invoices sent to it by the state police for security provided in 2012 and 2013 during races surrounding the NASCAR Sprint Cup’s Quaker State 400 in June and races that include a Nationwide Series race in September.

The records included emails from state police officials beginning last August which asked for payment for security provided at the 2013 Quaker State 400, and informed the track that state police records showed no payments for the 2012 races. Records also included a Dec. 27 letter that requested payment for security provided at all four races by Jan. 15. Brewer said the track did not reply to that letter or return later phone messages he personally left at the track until Friday.

Brewer said the money was due under annual agreements between the Speedway and state police “to provide uniformed troopers to provide security and safety for spectators and participants on Kentucky Speedway property.”

Invoices show the State Police assigned more than 100 troopers to the speedway security contract during the June race days, and about 50 to the smaller September races. Most worked 13 or 14 hours for each race.

Brewer said the state police has had some similar arrangements with other entities including the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center. He said the state police has no such contract with Churchill Downs for the Kentucky Derby. “That has varied from year to year, and there is no standard contractual agreement.”

The agreements with the speedway, obtained through the Kentucky Open Records Act by The Courier Journal, state that the Speedway “agrees to reimburse KSP for the salary of troopers assigned to work ... under this agreement.”

Brewer said that the contract calls for state police to provide “security inside the speedway itself — assisting in parking flow, security of monies, moving monies throughout the grounds, a multitude of things.”

Security and traffic control provided outside the gate are responsibilities and costs always covered by the state, he said.

The Kentucky Speedway, in Gallatin County, was built by Northern Kentucky businessman Jerry Carroll and partners and opened in 2000. In 2008, Carroll and his partners sold it to Speedway Motorsports Inc., of Charlotte, North Carolina.

The Speedway had made timely payments under such agreements through 2011, Brewer said.

But the documents obtained by the Louisville newspaper show that beginning last August, while requesting payment under the agreement for June 2013 races at the Speedway, state police officials emailed that their records also showed no payments had been made for two big events at the track in 2012.

According to the emails, a Speedway official notified state police that a check for about $130,000 had been written and forwarded for approval to the track’s corporate headquarters in Charlotte. And Speedway officials were checking for canceled checks or other proof that they had paid for the two 2012 races.

On Nov. 1, state police Capt. David Millay sent an email to the speedway’s Toni Ellis that said, “We still have not received payment. We need to resolve all payments as soon as possible. KSP enjoys the relationship it has built with Speedway Motorsports Incorporated and does not want the hard work of so many people on both sides affected by this issue.”