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Casino Miami Jai-Alai Made At Least $17 Million Last Year, Lawsuit Claims

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Adding a state-of-the-art casino with 1,035 slot machines has turned one of Miami's oldest parimutuel sites into an enormous money maker. Last year, Casino Miami Jai-Alai, located near Miami International Airport, collected $17.3 million in third quarter revenue compared to $1.8 million for the same period in 2011. No wonder Florida Gaming Corp. the company that owns the gambling site, is looking to sell Casino Miami Jai-Alai and its Fort Pierce casino and jai-alai facility for a cool $129.4 million.

But Florida Gaming Corp. minority shareholder Herbert Silverberg won't have any of it. He is suing Florida Gaming in Delaware Chancery Court to block the sale and claiming the father-and-son owners run the place as a "private fiefdom."

Silverberg claims the deal is stacked in favor of Florida Gaming Corp. Chairman W. Bennett Collett and CEO W. Bennett Collett Jr., the father-son team that runs the company. According to the complaint, the Colletts "have run the company as a private fiefdom, failing to hold shareholder meetings in years and causing Florida Gaming to engage in countless self-dealing transactions."

The sale will result in a reduced payout for Florida Gaming but provide valuable payments for the Colletts, who control the company and its three-member board, the lawsuit alleges.

Florida Gaming defaulted on an $87 million senior secured term loan in August 2012 and in late November announced plans to sell the Miami and Ft. Pierce parimuteuls to Silvermark LLC in a deal valued at $129.4 million, according to the suit.

But the deal will only net Florida Gaming $8.2 million, Silverberg said, whereas a competing offer promised a net value of $19.4 million.

(Neither Silverberg nor Collett's attorneys returned messages about the suit; we'll update the post when they do.)

Miami Jai-Alai Lawsuit by

Follow Francisco Alvarado on Twitter: @thefrankness.

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