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    Greyhound Racing WENTWORTH TO RESIGN
    Posted byadmin on Wednesday, February 13 @ 15:00:01 EST
    Contributed by admin

    Track's Wentworth cashes out
    Longtime manager will resign, but was he asked to go?


     
    From the peak days of Dubuque's parimutuel racing to its competitive crash to slot machine salvation and a devastating tax battle, Bruce Wentworth has been the face and the fists of Dubuque Greyhound Park & Casino.
    He's battled Iowa's attorney general, Wisconsin dog tracks and his gambling house's crosstown rival -- clandestinely behind the lines and publicly in the press.
    It seems Wentworth has seen it all in the legalized gambling game. And after nearly a quarter-century leading Dubuque Greyhound Park & Casino could it be Wentworth has seen enough?
    On Tuesday, Wentworth and his bosses, the Dubuque Racing Association, announced the racetrack casino's general manager will step down in 60 days.
    The press release calls it "transition planning" to prepare the way for a new general manager, a kind of easing out of an old friend.
    But some close to the situation have told the TH Wentworth's departure is not as amiable as DRA top brass paints it, that the board is looking for a new direction in the wake of some financial problems behind and expected greater 1a Went rail
    Time line
    Here's a look at the highs and lows of Bruce Wentworth's tenure at the helm of Dubuque Greyhound Park & Casino.
    3 April 1984 -- Referendum asks Dubuque voters to approve a $7.9 million general-obligation bond to be used as the major source of funding for a parimutuel greyhound racetrack.
    3 March 1985 -- Roy Berger, first general manager of the dog track (under construction) names Wentworth mutuel manager and assistant general manager. At 38, Wentworth is an industry veteran, coming from Tucson, Ariz., Greyhound Park, where he served in a similar position.
    3 June 1, 1985 -- Dubuque Greyhound Park opens its doors.
    3 August 1989 -- Wentworth is named general manager.
    3 Nov. 22, 1995 -- Following 1994 legislation allowing slot machines at Iowa's parimutuel racetracks, the Dubuque operation becomes Dubuque Greyhound Park & Casino, operating 600 slot machines.
    3 Feb. 3, 2004 -- The Iowa Supreme Court upholds a previous opinion by declaring unconstitutional the state's two-tiered gambling tax. The high court's decision means millions of dollars in additional revenue for Iowa's racetrack casinos.
    3 May 2005 -- Dubuque Greyhound Park & Casino opens expanded gambling facility.

    fiscal turbulence ahead.
    "I informed (DRA President) John Schmidt of my desire to consider transition plans several months ago," Wentworth said in a DRA-issued press release, "and we were able to agree on a plan that was acceptable to us."
    But sources this week told the TH the agreement comes as at least some on the board, the non-profit license holder of Dubuque Greyhound Park & Casino, call into question the competency of Wentworth's leadership.
    Last month, the DRA drastically cut its projections for its annual distributions to the city and tri-state charities, despite another year of record revenue. The culprit, DRA officials assert, is the coming increased competition from a glitzy new $77 million Diamond Jo Casino.
    Schmidt bristled at anyone calling Wentworth's leadership into question, saying the general manager decided to resign. Asked if the decision was mutual or whether the DRA board asked Wentworth to step down, Schmidt said, "What we are identifying today is, as we have announced, we have accepted his resignation with regret."
    "This is Bruce's decision to leave and that's where we need to leave it," he said.
    "I stand on my track record of 23 years, and I'm proud of it," Wentworth said when questioned if the board asked him to step aside.
    DRA board members who would speak for the record praised Wentworth's service to the casino and the tens of millions of dollars it has generated for the city and nonprofits over the past two-plus decades.
    "Look at the major transitions he's shepherded this organization through," said City Manager Mike Van Milligen, a DRA board member.
    Wentworth joined the racetrack in 1985, a few months before it opened for business. He was named general manager in 1989, as greyhound racing in Wisconsin was about take a huge bite out of Dubuque's gambling business, threatening its survival. He led the track through the steeper competition of slot machines on riverboat casinos and saw the racetrack essentially saved by the addition of slot machines in 1995.
    Wentworth summed up his tenure as "challenging and gratifying."
    He said there isn't one moment that defines his career in Dubuque.
    "It's the relationships I've developed," he said. "It's not the time, it's the people."
    Wentworth plans to serve as a consultant to the DRA for a year following his exit.



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