Greenetrack CEO says future uncertain, tax payments up for negotiation

Greenetrack CEO and President Luther Winn wants to make a deal.

One of Greene County’s largest and oldest employers, Greenetrack has faced an uncertain future since early July, when the Alabama Supreme Court ruled the business owed $76 million in unpaid taxes and penalties.

On Tuesday at a news conference, Winn said Greenetrack cannot afford to pay what the state and IRS say it owes and that the ruling jeopardizes the future of electronic gaming in the state. But he said he’s ready to sit down with state authorities and negotiate a possible payment plan that would keep Greenetrack open but no longer hosting electronic bingo.

“What the Supreme Court has done is wrong,” he said. “But, being a business that has always tried to follow the law, we are going to scuffle, scrape, beg and borrow to try to work out some kind of deal where we can pay this tax.”

With electronic bingo called into question, Winn said Greenetrack will reconfigure itself as a historical horse racing venue, allowing gamblers to bet on races happening at other facilities across the country.

Filing bankruptcy is the last thing Winn said he wants to do, citing Greenetrack’s 96 employees and the financial support it extends to several county institutions like the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, the Greene County Hospital, Greene County School System and more.

“It’s very big for the community,” said Eutaw Mayor Latasha Johnson. “It could really hurt us. Bingo has been a blessing to our community. We have people who have jobs and we don’t want people to lose their jobs. This would really hurt our community if we lose bingo.”

Johnson said city of Eutaw receives $50,000 every month from Greenetrack, and that money is helping the city stay out of debt.

Greenetrack cashier of 18 years Latoya Pelt said losing her job would be devastating because she’s already facing mounting medical issues.

“My mind is all over the place when it comes to this decision,” Pelt said. “I really don’t understand it, because if two courts ruled in our favor, why rule against us?”

At this time, Winn said he has no intention of laying off any employees and wants to come up with some kind of payment plan or negotiation for payment with the state.

Johnson said she will stand by and support Greenetrack during this time.

Categories: Featured, Local News