Joe Straus Should Stop Measuring the Curtains for the Speaker’s Suite

Apr 8, 2012 by

Joe "The RINO" Strauss

by Donna Garner –

What could possibly give an unnamed casino group the “courage” to pay off the huge losses incurred by Retama Park (horse racing park in San Antonio that lost $1.7 Million last year alone) and also to pay off any future losses for the next six years? (Please see 3.16.12 article from San Antonio Express-News posted below.)

Why, of course, it must be that this casino group believes that Speaker Joe Straus, whose family is deeply vested in Retama Park, will be able to get re-elected as Speaker again and then will have the power to push through the next Legislature slot machines and other casino games at racetracks.

Could it be that Joe Straus is funding left-leaning/moderate/RINO House candidates across the state in order to get them elected and then will expect “pay back” once they are elected?

Why would I possibly think such a thing? This is exactly what Straus did during the race leading up to the Nov. 2010 elections when he gave tens of thousands of dollars to candidates’ campaigns in exchange for their vote for him as Speaker of the House.

What we have to do as Texas voters is to make sure Joe Straus does not get re-elected to the Legislature nor to the Speakership. Fortunately for us, Matt Beebe has stepped up to the plate and has offered himself as the authentic conservative candidate in HD 121.

Let’s tell Joe Straus that he needs to stop “measuring the curtains for the Speaker’s suite.”

Matt reveals what Joe Straus REALLY means when he says he is “block walking.”  Here is Matt’s short video; you will love it. – Donna Garner —

More information regarding Matt’s candidacy can be found at

Here is the link to the article that I wrote back on March 12, 2011, to stop Straus’ plan to push slots and casino gambling through the 82nd Legislative Session — “Gambling Bills Knocking at Texas’ Door”  —

Donna Garner


*The San Antonio Express-News has an interesting graphic posted at the top of the article that portrays just how these race track groups are tied together. If you cannot see the graphic in this e-mail, please click on the link below and go to the article to view it —



Retama nears deal to keep racing

By Patrick Danner

Updated 12:25 p.m., Friday, March 16, 2012



Officials of money-losing Retama Park are closing in on a deal with an unnamed casino group that would fund the facility’s losses for the next six years and repay millions in track debt.


The deal would give Retama Park a much-needed lifeline and allow track officials at least three more opportunities to persuade state lawmakers to let voters decide whether to permit slot machines and possibly other casino games at Texas racetracks. Past legislative efforts have failed. Legislators meet every other year, and won’t meet again until January.


“It ensures our survivability, and it’s the best solution we’ve seen to our financial issues,” Retama Park CEO Bryan Brown said of the deal with the casino company. The track has been looking for an investment partner since at least last summer.



On Thursday, members of the Retama Development Corp. (RDC), a municipal subdivision of Selma that owns the racetrack, agreed to borrow $1.27 million from the casino company.


The money would cover the horse track’s operating losses while the Texas Racing Commission reviews the deal and the Texas Department of Public Safety conducts background checks on officials with the casino group. Commission approval for such deals generally takes four to six months, Brown said.



The identity of the casino company might be revealed by the end of this month, when terms of a final agreement should be presented to the RDC board, which is expected to approve it. The casino company is publicly traded, Brown said.



Under the terms of the transaction still being negotiated, the casino company would fund Retama’s operating losses for six years, Brown said. The track has never made money since opening in 1995. The casino company also would repay some of the RDC’s debt — $7.2 million in senior bonds and a $1.6 million note, he said.


In return, the casino company would take over management of the track through a newly formed company. Retama Entertainment Group, which currently manages the track, would receive compensation for giving up the management contract, Brown said. Retama Entertainment Group’s majority owner is Call Now Inc.


The casino company also would purchase a majority ownership stake in another new company, Retama Partners LLC, which would hold the track’s racing license.


The license currently is held by Retama Partners Ltd., a partnership comprised of numerous individuals and trusts. According to a list compiled last year, the partners included Spurs majority owner Peter Holt, car dealer Marsha Shields of McCombs Enterprises, and Drake Leddy, a developer and the partnership’s chairman.


A trust affiliated with Joseph Straus Jr., the father of Joe Straus, speaker of the Texas House, also held an interest.



Brown acknowledged the casino company’s interest in getting involved with a money-losing operation is based on the hope that gaming will be expanded at Texas racetracks at some point.


“They know what the odds are,” Brown said. “They know it’s not a slam dunk, so they are making a sizable investment at some great risk that gaming won’t be passed. They realize that. They’re big boys.”


Brown said he won’t predict how the state lawmakers might act on expanding gaming, but noted there likely will be a lot of new members in the Texas House next year.


The parties still have to hammer out about 15 items before the transaction can be finalized, Brown said, but that’s down from 200 at one point.


One of the major aspects was addressed with the RDC agreeing to borrow $1.27 million from the casino company.


“When it comes to borrowing money, we’re fearless,” quipped Gary Baber, the RDC’s chairman.



Besides what it owes to senior bondholders, the RDC owes $87 million in subordinate bonds, plus more than $150 million in unpaid interest. However, those only have to be paid back if the RDC generates positive cash flow — which it hasn’t.


Counting the interest owed to bondholders, the RDC lost about $24 million on $10.7 million in revenue last year. Excluding interest, the loss was closer to $1.7 million.


Live thoroughbred racing runs from Oct. 5 through Dec. 29 this year at Retama Park, its website shows. Quarter horses will race from June 8 through Aug. 11.

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