from the Iowa District Court for Pottawattamie County, James
S. Heckerman, Judge.
Filipelli appeals the district court's finding he lacked
standing to challenge the Iowa Racing and Gaming
Commission's action regarding the distribution of an
escrow account created by an arbitration agreement. AFFIRMED.
J. McGinn of McGinn, Springer & Noethe, P.L.C., Council
Bluffs, for appellant.
J. Miller, Attorney General, and David M. Ranscht and Jeffrey
C. Peterzalek, Assistant Attorneys General, for appellee.
Nicholas J. Mauro of Crawford & Mauro Law Firm, Des
Moines, for intervenor.
Considered by Vogel, P.J., and Tabor and Mullins, JJ.
Filipelli appeals the district court's grant of the Iowa
Racing and Gaming Commission (IRGC) and Intervenor Iowa
Greyhound Association's (IGA) joint motion to dismiss.
Filipelli argues the court erred in determining he lacked
standing to challenge the IRGC's action concerning the
distribution of an escrow fund created by an arbitration
agreement. We affirm.
Background Facts and Proceedings
Iowa Legislature created the IRGC to have regulatory
jurisdiction over all gambling operations governed by Iowa
Code chapters 99D (2015) (pari-mutuel racing) and 99F
(gambling structures). The Iowa West Racing Association
(IWRA) is a nonprofit organization that held a pari-mutuel
license to conduct gambling at the Horseshoe/Bluffs Run
Casino in Council Bluffs. Prior to 2014, Iowa law required
the casino to conduct live greyhound racing and to contribute
to the purses for these races from its slot machine revenue.
The IWRA and the IGA, a nonprofit corporation organized to
promote the breeding and racing of greyhounds in Iowa for
sport, were required by law to reach an agreement as to the
amount of slot machine revenues that should be used to
supplement purses at the racetrack each year. The IWRA and
the IGA frequently failed to reach an agreement, and as a
result, they often submitted the matter to binding
1995, the IWRA and the IGA failed to reach an agreement
regarding the amount the casino would contribute to
supplement purses at Bluffs Run in 1996 and submitted the
matter to an arbitration panel. The panel issued a decision
and award setting the 1996 purse supplement at four million
dollars. The panel also established an escrow account
comprised of an additional four million dollars contributed
from slot machine revenue at the casino to be used to
supplement purses in future years as a result of the
casino's underpayment of purses in previous years due to
underestimated adjusted gross receipts as projected by the
IWRA. The escrow fund was held in the name of the IGA and the
IWRA, and the IGA maintained exclusive control regarding its
investment. In 1998, an arbitration panel suspended
contributions to the escrow account after the IWRA and the
IGA failed to develop a specific plan for the funds in the
2014, the Iowa Legislature discontinued live greyhound racing
at the casino, effective in December 2015. See Iowa
Code § 99D.9A. The legislature provided the IGA the
opportunity to obtain a pari-mutuel license and operate its
own live greyhound racing in Dubuque. See Iowa Code
§§ 99D.9B, .9C. The IGA subsequently applied for
and received such a license and began racing.
and the IWRA attempted to negotiate an agreement for the
disbursement of the funds in the escrow account. They were
unable to agree on how to distribute the funds and submitted
the matter to the IRGC for consideration. On March 5, 2015,
the IRGC moved to distribute the escrow fund:
"[O]ne-half [(roughly 2.6 million dollars)] for purses
at Bluffs Run based upon the past five years, 2011-2015, and
one-half . . . to the [IGA] to be used for purses in the
operation of the Dubuque track." The IRGC approved the
motion with four "yes" votes and one "no"
vote. Neither the IWRA nor the IGA challenged the IRGC's
October 27, 2015, Filipelli, a licensed dog breeder and
kennel owner-operator who began participating in racing at
Bluffs Run in 2010, filed a petition for judicial review of
the IRGC's March 5 action, pursuant to Iowa Code chapter
17A.19, claiming the decision was contrary to Iowa law and
the prior arbitration awards. In his petition, Filipelli
alleged he had standing to challenge the IRGC's action
because (1) "[h]e ha[d] a personal interest in the
illegal transfer of funds out of the Purse Escrow account,
" (2) "[t]he illegal transfer of 2.6 million
dollars has a direct adverse effect on [him] in the loss of
funds in excess of $60, 000.00, " (3) "[t]he
actions of the [IRGC] in allowing the transfer of the funds
contrary to statute directly caused the injury to [him],
" and (4) "this issue is more likely than not to be
redressed by a favorable decision for [him]." ...