- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 2, 2004

ANNAPOLIS — The horse-racing industry and gambling companies paid more than $1.6 million to lobbyists who represented them in the protracted battle over slot machines during the 2004 legislative session.

That figure does not include money spent by racing and gambling industry lobbyists to entertain legislators or money spent on publications, research and witnesses related to the unsuccessful campaign to get a slot-machine bill through the legislature.

The figures were contained in reports filed by the end of the day yesterday with the State Ethics Commission. The deadline for submitting reports was Tuesday, but reports continued to trickle in throughout the day, and totals could change as more reports are submitted.

The biggest lobbying fees were paid by companies with the most at stake — owners of Laurel Park and Pimlico racetracks and a company that had hoped to buy Rosecroft racetrack.

The Maryland Jockey Club paid $202,945 to Baltimore lawyer Alan Rifkin plus $117,558 to other members of his law firm to represent the company’s interest in Laurel Park and Pimlico. Magna Entertainment Corp., which owns a controlling interest in the two tracks, paid at least $217,625 to lobbyists, including $124,447 to Paul Tiburzi, one of the legislature’s highest-paid lobbyists.

Centaur Inc. of Indianapolis, which had an agreement to buy Rosecroft but did not meet a deadline for completing the sale, paid at least $144,000 to four lobbyists.

The lobbying reports covered a period beginning Nov. 1 and extended through the immediate aftermath of the 2004 session in April. The fees paid by companies interested in racing and gambling issues amounted to almost $8,000 for each of the 188 state senators and delegates.

The top lobbyist among those who had filed reports by yesterday was Robert Enten, who reported fees of about $668,000, including $127,741 from MAMSI (Mid-Atlantic Medical Services Inc.) and $80,000 from the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association.

Mr. Enten was followed by Bruce Bereano and Joseph Schwartz, who each listed fees — not counting expenses and entertainment — approaching $600,000.

Mr. Schwartz reported the largest single fee of any lobbyist, $221,395 from the state medical society.

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