CHICAGO — Chicago-based National Jockey Club has filed a lawsuit against racing legend Chip Ganassi and Chip Ganassi Group, L.L.C., for allegedly failing to pay its share of project debt, which National Jockey Club claims is more than $35 million. The suit, filed in Federal Court in Chicago seeks several million dollars in damages.
The 1998 venture between National Jockey Club, owned by the Bidwill family and Ganassi, converted the Bidwills’ Sportsman’s Park horse racing facility in the Chicago suburb of Cicero to a dual purpose horse and motor racing facility. Races, including Championship Auto Racing Teams and NASCAR Craftsman Truck events, were held at the Speedway from 1999 through 2002.
According to the lawsuit, in 2001, the Ganassi interests reneged on promises to provide funds necessary to keep the project afloat and never again materially contributed. According to Charles Bidwill, III, president of National Jockey Club, the partners together invested $70 million in the Chicago Motor Speedway project as equal partners.
“Our partner reneged on commitments,” said Bidwill. “The project didn’t work out, and now Chip feels he is not obligated to share the responsibility equally. He wants us to bear remaining losses including $35 million in bank debt. That’s just not right.”
The media relations office for Chip Ganassi declined to comment on the matter.
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