Friday, June 22, 2018
Business

Tampa bank CEO files for bankruptcy tied to Michigan horse track deal gone bad

Veteran Michigan banker and horse racing investor Jerry Campbell burst on the Tampa Bay financial scene nearly a decade ago, leading a Tampa bank that would become known as HomeBanc. Last month, Campbell declared personal bankruptcy, citing his inability to pay $9 million in debt.

According to a voluntary Chapter 11 petition before Judge Rodney May of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida, Campbell's major debt is $4.8 million owed for a loan he and co-investors borrowed in early 2009 to buy Michigan-based Pinnacle Race Track. The 320-acre track was abandoned in 2010.

Campbell's' January bankruptcy comes in the same month that demolition began on the failed $50 million horse racing track that, according to a story last week in the Detroit Free Press, represented "one of Wayne County's biggest economic development debacles of the past decade." Campbell was the founder of the track, while wife Lisa Campbell was identified as its CEO, the newspaper reported.

In court documents, Campbell's attorney, Camille Iurillo of the Florida-based Iurillo Law Group, blamed the downturn in the economy: "In hindsight, the timing for the opening of the track could not have been worse."

Personal bankruptcy by a senior Tampa banker is never a great endorsement for fiduciary responsibility. HomeBanc, where Campbell serves as chairman, CEO and president, appears to be on solid footing. The privately owned bank, with 14 offices and nearly $1 billion in assets, recently received a respected "four star" rating by Bauer Financial based on its quarterly performance as of Sept. 30, 2015.

In a 2008 interview with the Tampa Bay Times, Campbell spoke fondly of his long ties to the bay area where, he said at the time, he and wife Lisa owned a condo on Sand Key and two dozen racehorses at Tampa Bay Downs.

According to the Free Press, in Michigan the Wayne County Land Bank originally sold the 320-acre property to Campbell and other racetrack investors for a dollar. In exchange, Campbell's group promised to create or retain 1,100 construction jobs and 1,200 full-time permanent jobs or suffer financial penalties based on the estimated market value of the land, at the time $8.6 million.

The track lost millions in its first two years, and efforts to revive it as a "racino" with slot machines failed.

According to Campbell's bankruptcy filings, the couple owns two properties in Florida and three in Michigan. At HomeBanc, Campbell earned a base salary of $472,500 in 2015 from his bank and may still be eligible to receive a bonus.

Two years ago, the couple launched Team Equest, a Florida-based syndicate initiative designed to attract new owners to racing via a fractional ownership plan. The business' website, launched in March 2014, stopped posting news and updates the same year.

News reports also indicate Campbell was a lead business partner with the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians in its ongoing attempt to open off-reservation Indian casinos.

Contact Robert Trigaux at [email protected] Follow @venturetampabay.

Comments
Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

Tampa Bay workforce development initiative looks to Houston for lessons

The biggest hospitals in Houston had a problem.To earn a prized institutional certification, they needed more nurses with bachelor of science degrees in nursing.But local colleges were more focused on turning out nurses with two-year degrees who, to ...
Published: 06/22/18
Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

Health care IT company CareSync shuts down, laying off 292

TAMPA — The days ahead were supposed to be bright.For weeks, the future of health care tech company CareSync had been thrown into question as founder and CEO and founder Travis Bond unexpectedly departed, kicking off multiple rounds of layoffs. But t...
Published: 06/22/18
Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Coal and gas hold onto their share of electricity production, despite massive push for renewables

Here’s an intriguing set of facts: Coal produces the same percentage of the world’s electricity as 20 years ago. Oil and gas remain about level, too.Same for nonfossil fuel sources. In other words, the massive push towards renewables over the past co...
Published: 06/22/18
Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Florida’s otherwise rosy job numbers, one that’s been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes gen...
Published: 06/22/18
Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

Pride divided no more: St. Pete Pride comes back together

ST. PETERSBURG — The 16th annual St. Pete Pride Parade is getting ready to march along the downtown waterfront the second straight year. But many hope to move past the division caused last year when the parade was uprooted from its original hom...
Published: 06/22/18
For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

For sale: A Tampa Bay area elementary school where you can eat tacos and buy wine

ST. PETERSBURG — For sale: a 104-year-old elementary school with restaurant and wine shop. It even has a title company where you can close the deal.Less than a year after completing a major renovation of the historic North Ward school, developer Jona...
Published: 06/22/18
Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

Domain Homes: Buyers love them, some others don’t

TAMPA — When the 2008 financial crash brought down the nation’s housing market, hundreds of home builders went out of business. Among them was Sharon McSwain Homes in Atlanta, forced to liquidate in 2009.But just as developers like to develop, builde...
Published: 06/21/18
Updated: 06/22/18
Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

Armature Works developers sue Ulele and city of Tampa over use of nearby building

TAMPA — Two of the city’s hottest developers — the companies behind Ulele and the Armature Works — are heading to court over control of an old city building that sits between the hit eateries. Both want to redevelop the city&...
Published: 06/21/18
Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Orlando airport first to scan faces of U.S. citizens on international flights

Associated PressFlorida’s busiest airport is becoming the first in the nation to require a face scan of passengers on all arriving and departing international flights, including U.S. citizens, according to officials there. The expected announcement T...
Published: 06/21/18
Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Saboteur or whistleblower? Battle between Elon Musk and former Tesla employee turns ugly, exposing internal rancor

Hours after Tesla had sued its former employee on charges he had stolen company secrets, and days after chief Elon Musk had called him a saboteur, the Silicon Valley automaker made a startling claim. The company had received a call from a friend of t...
Published: 06/21/18