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December 14, 2007 9:28 AM
Scripps Howard News Service
Must credit Sacramento Bee
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A real-estate investment manager near San Francisco has become a driving force behind efforts to overturn gambling agreements between the state and four Southern California tribes.
Terrence E. Fancher, a relative newcomer to the state's horse-racing industry, has steered more than $4.3 million to the campaign opposing the deals, known as compacts. Fancher largely bankrolled the summer signature-gathering effort that qualified referendum measures targeting the compacts for the Feb. 5 ballot.
If voters approve the compacts, the tribes could add up to 17,000 slot machines to their casinos in return for millions in revenue-sharing payments to the state. But Fancher, who leads an investment firm that owns the Bay Meadows and Hollywood Park race tracks, views the coming vote as a make-or-break statement on the future of California horse racing, associates said.
''After taking part in and observing many failed discussions surrounding these compacts ... he believes the only course left is to try to have these compacts sent back to the Legislature for renegotiation that includes fair consideration for horse racing,'' said Joe Lang, a lobbyist for Bay Meadows and Hollywood Park.
The tribes with compacts targeted by the ballot measures are fighting back. Since opponents began collecting signatures in August, the four tribes have pumped $34.5 million into the pro-compact campaign, aired frequent television ads and secured the support of many of the state's major political players.
Roger Salazar, a spokesman for ...