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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Daughter says she can’t recall stock purchases

The daughter of embattled Spokane Raceway Park operator Orville Moe testified Thursday she bought back shares in the drag strip from investors for only a fraction of their purchase prices.

Susan M. Ross was called as a plaintiff’s witness in an ongoing court battle where limited partner investors are seeking court-appointment of a receiver to take over financial operations at the drag strip and oval track on a square-mile of land in Airway Heights.

At the continuing hearing before Superior Court Judge Robert Austin, the plaintiffs have attempted to show the operation run by Orville Moe for the past three decades has been riddled with fraud, under-the-table payments and a host of bookkeeping irregularities.

The plaintiffs had hoped to wrap up their case with three days of hearings ending Thursday, but testimony was far from complete at the end of the day.

The judge continued the hearing until April 25, but said it could resume again on March 7 if an unrelated malpractice suit settles and his court calendar clears.

Many of the limited partners, mostly retired seniors, have crowded the courtroom for the hearings.

The limited partners came up with $1.5 million in the 1970s to buy into Washington Motorsports, operated by general partner Orville Moe and his Spokane Raceway Park Inc.

Orville Moe’s brothers, Earl and Maynard, own an interest in the raceway and were officers of Spokane Raceway Park until late 2003 when they were ousted from the board.

Orville Moe testified the ousters were engineered by him, his attorney, Robert Kovacevich, and real estate salesman Patrick Kenney, a former Spokane city councilman.

Several limited partners, wondering why they have received no return on their investments, have said Orville Moe has told them there is no money and their shares are worthless.

But at the same time, he has put many of them in contact with his daughter, Susan Ross, formerly known as Susan Record and Susan Dry. On the stand Thursday, Ross told the plaintiffs’ attorney she has bought 33 shares from original investors who sold their shares at fire-sale prices.

She has worked at the race track, doing everything from cleaning toilets and picking up garbage to helping count piles of cash from race events that attract thousands, she testified.

Under vigorous questioning by Giesa, Ross said she could not identify the sellers, the times of her purchases or the amounts she paid. She said she bought some shares of stock, sold for $500 apiece, for $150.

The attorney then referred to the “partnership agreement,” a legally binding document that required that all stock transfers be recorded with dates, names and amounts.

“Did you ever follow this process?” Giesa asked the witness.

“I wasn’t aware of it,” Ross responded. She again said she “couldn’t remember” when she bought the shares, for how much or from whom. Ross produced one check for one transaction. She said she has no idea about the current value of the shares she bought or the value of the race track she partly owns.

“How did you learn these shares were available for sale?” Giesa asked.

“From my dad,” the witness responded, explaining that her father would get cashier’s checks for the purchases.

Under cross-examination by Moe’s attorney, Carl Oreskovich, she was asked why she would buy stock if she had no idea of its value. “Just because I believed in my dad and the project he was building,” Ross testified.

Her father sat across the courtroom listening to her, continually drinking water from a tiny cup.

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