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Panel considers bid for Raynham Park slots

Dealings with ex-trader scrutinized

Representatives of Raynham Park took their turn Friday in the hot seat before the state gambling commission in a half-day hearing on the track’s fitness to hold a slot parlor license, which largely focused on a link to a disgraced former stock magnate.

Robert Green, chairman of Greenwood Racing, which is pitching a slot parlor in partnership with Raynham Park, testified extensively about his relationship and past business deals with Robert Brennan. The onetime head of First Jersey Securities, Brennan starred in his firm’s TV commercials in the 1980s, but in 2001 he was sentenced to more than nine years in prison for money laundering and bankruptcy fraud.

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The gambling commission’s investigative arm flagged Green’s relationship to Brennan in its background check of key people involved in Raynham’s application for the state’s sole slot parlor license.

Green and Brennan “engaged in a number of business relationships” between 1989 and 1995, according to testimony and the written report of state gambling investigators. Green said he considers Brennan a friend, and he even visited him in prison.

Pressed on the relationship, Green said he has had no business dealings with Brennan in the past 17 years, however. “The occasional visits I paid [to Brennan in prison] were a mans to a man,” he said. “The business element was dead. Buried.”

New Jersey casino regulators also investigated Green’s relationship with Brennan in the late 1990s, concluding that the association did not hurt Green’s qualifications for holding a gambling license there.

In addition to representatives from Greenwood Racing, the commission also heard from longtime Raynham Park owner George Carney, who spoke briefly about his business career, which has included a dog racing and simulcast betting operation, a trucking company, a construction business, and other enterprises.

“I’ve gotten into many businesses. Some I wish I hadn’t,” said Carney, explaining that some of his endeavors were less successful than he had hoped.

He said he had waited 20 years for the opportunity to testify before a state commission as an applicant for a casino license, and he joked that at 85 years old he did not have time to wait another 20.

The commission will deliberate privately and render a written decision on whether Raynham Park is deemed qualified to compete for the slot parlor license.

Two other companies have already been ruled fit to compete for the license: The Cordish Cos., seeking to build a slot parlor in Leominster, and an affiliate of Rush Street Gaming LLC, which intends to build in Millbury.

A decision is pending on the fitness of Plainridge Racecourse in Plainville, and background checks are ongoing for Penn National Gaming, which has plans to build in Tewksbury.

The state’s 2011 casino law created licenses for three resort casinos and one slot parlor. The slots facility is limited by law to 1,250 slot machines and no table games.

Mark Arsenault can be reached at marsenault@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @bostonglobemark.
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