Ante up: Dan Adkins, Hartman & Tyner suing each other over lost ‘millions’

a_Gambling (1) (Large)

Updated May 1 — Court records show that the cases reported below were settled out of court and closed. The terms of the settlements were not disclosed.


As news broke earlier this year that a real estate tycoon was in talks to buy Hallandale Beach’s Mardi Gras Casino and Race Track, longtime casino head Dan Adkins began taking stock of his life.

“I’m still employed by Hartman and Tyner (H&T) at this point,” he told The Miami Herald in January, referring to the Southfield, Michigan property management firm that’s owned the facility for four decades.

“It’s a landmark decision, and for a guy like me, who’s been around for so many years, it’s a little disheartening,” added Adkins, who started in 1987 and rose to CEO and vice president from his Broward County base. “Things change.”

That change apparently included his relationship with his longtime employer: Since November, Adkins had been locked in a legal battle with H&T and its directors, accusing them of lying to him that he’d be paid “millions of dollars” upon sale of the company’s gambling businesses in Florida, West Virginia and Michigan.

Billionaire Jeffrey Soffer, who also owns the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach, is in the process of buying the Mardi Gras gaming hall and greyhound track, which closed last year after damage from Hurricane Irma.

But Adkins’ suit blames H&T director Heidi Hartman Wenokur, daughter of H&T co-founder Bernard Hartman and now company president, for “accept(ing) an offer for the sale of Mardi Gras Florida for substantially less than market value,” costing the company $20 million. The full terms of the deal were not in the complaint.

Adkins’ lawsuit, now moved to federal court, also says his “day-to-day authority has been stripped” and he has “effectively lost the ability to govern the enterprise he has been at the helm of for almost 30 years.” H&T also removed him from its board and cut his pay, the suit says.

Last Friday, H&T struck back by filing its own federal suit. It says the 60-year-old Adkins “engag(ed) in self-dealing, corporate waste, and gross mismanagement … conceal(ing) the poor financial state of H&T’s businesses caused by his misconduct so that he could … enrich himself and his family members.”

A complaint in a lawsuit tells one side of a story. A message seeking comment was left Thursday with Adkins’ assistant. Alec Schultz, a lawyer representing H&T, said the company “does not comment on pending litigation.”

The company has seen at least one other high-profile legal fight. After co-founder Herbert Tyner died in 2015, “his widow and their four children claim(ed) Hartman (went) back on a deathbed pledge to take care of Tyner’s wife and keep Hartman & Tyner Inc. operations as usual,” The Detroit News reported.

That case was settled in July 2017 “due in large part to Adkins’ tireless efforts to mediate the litigation between the two families,” his suit says.

Adkins says he had intended to leave H&T ten years earlier “to pursue his own entrepreneurial interests.” In staying, he lost an opportunity to become a gambling lobbyist, in which he claims he could have “earned over $1 million annually.”

Hartman persuaded him to remain by promising him—falsely, Adkins says—that “upon a sale of gaming operations Adkins would receive millions of dollars if he built them up and made them more valuable.”

In his complaint, Adkins takes credit for gaining “additional gaming in both West Virginia and Florida, such as approval of card and table games” and “legislation in Florida that reduced the slot machine tax rate” from 50 percent to 35 percent. His efforts resulted in “H&T increasing in value by tens of millions of dollars,” Adkins says.

In its own action, H&T lobbed a litany of accusations against Adkins, including that the casino lost “millions of dollars each year” under his leadership. Also, it says he:

— “(P)laced several of his family members on H&T’s payroll even though they did not report to work.”

— Disregarded orders while the Mardi Gras Casino was closed to “cut payroll and lay off employees to cut costs, caus(ing) H&T to pay out more than $1.5 million in payroll.”

— “(C)aused H&T to ‘loan’ himself approximately $1 million, which … served no legitimate business purpose.”

— Cost the company “about $8 million in legal legislative fees and lobbying fees with no material results” over the last decade.

— “(C)aused H&T to loan outside lobbyist John Cavacini $75,000 on an unsecured basis without any authority from the Board of Directors.”

Cavacini’s LinkedIn profile lists him as president of the West Virginia Racing Association. H&T has operated a Mardi Gras Casino and Resort there. A phone number for the association listed on its most recent federal tax filing goes to the casino. A message for Cavacini was left there Thursday.

H&T’s suit also blames Mardi Gras’ damages on Adkins, saying “oversight was poor, (and) the roof of the racetrack came off during Hurricane Irma because it was incorrectly installed under Adkins’s direction.” It seeks an unspecified amount of damages.

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Michael

    March 30, 2018 at 10:04 am

    Adkins has his hands full and can’t win.. Just the accusation of hiring family members for no show jobs is a clear act of embezzlement.

    Also what Adkins thinks he “could” have made as a lobbyist is moot since he has absolutely no figures to back that claim. Heck I could have been President if I actually pursued the position TEN YEARS BEFORE but decided to not leave my job in hope to make millions robbing the company I work for..

    Good Luck Dan Adkins

    • Jim B

      March 30, 2018 at 1:06 pm

      It was probably just a business decision! Dan Adkins favorite thing to tell people. “ it’s not personal, just a business decision “

  • Jim B

    March 30, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    Looks like a business decision on their part! It’s not personal as Danny always says, just business

  • Rudy w

    March 30, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    Dan Atkins will look you in the face and lie. Now the truth will be told. Sorry Dan

    • W.C

      April 10, 2018 at 8:42 am


  • Ken R. Foster

    March 31, 2018 at 10:37 am

    Dan having your family on the payroll and they never show up for work. Well that’s a crime.your wife working the irs window and 10% out Irs tickets at Hollywood got her in hot water when the feds came calling.but she ratted on others to save her butt. It’s all in court records. And you want a million from the owners hope u have it in writing cause your word doesn’t carry any weight in the courtroom.

  • Ducky Script

    April 3, 2018 at 5:35 pm

    The employees at Mardi Gras Casino have been treated poorly for years. Mr. Adkins told a group of employees that if they were looking for a raise they could find other jobs. Aside from the cost of living every position at this casino is a dead end job. Mr. Adkins should not be in a position of authority. I sincerely hope that the new owners will do the right thing and start taking better care of the people that make them their millions annually.

  • Linda Valerio

    April 5, 2018 at 1:46 am

    Dan Adkins played the MIHBPA out of all their $$$, persuaded them to blow their purses in 2015 trying to get horsemen from neighboring States who had RACINO’S to come to where, Hazel Park the dump? The reason, so H.P. could end the meet early and avoid operational costs. I blame the MIHBPA for letting this man play them from 2009 and now Adkins is crying over his treatment by Hartman? Both are snakes. When Tyner died they cheated his wife and family.

    I also forewarned the MIHBPA and my whole tribe that no way they’d sell the $$$ makers but not H.P, no doubt the last year at this racetrack. Well Wed. was ship in day and Horsemen and their horses were kept out. 42 ended up making it in but were told they must leave. No warning no nothing. I gave them a heads up but even I didn’t see what they ended up doing to horsemen/women today.

    Dan Adkins is rotten to the core. He fit right in with Hartman and Tyner who were as destructive to Mi. horse racing than anyone else ever was. Go cry somewhere else Danny Boy. You fed off the blood and hard work of others for long enough.

  • Cathy

    April 5, 2018 at 9:10 am

    It took a lady(Irma) to blow the roof off of your dark kingdom of horrors and let in the light. Where can one even begin to describe the internal workings of this place. Nepotism. Friends and family spread far and wide within the organization like a cancer. No qualifications, no problem. I’ll just waive my magic wand and make a special position for you. Wasn’t it friends and family that installed the roof that has been leaking for years? Hmmm. I do admire Mr. Adkins for adhering to his religious doctrine of polygamy. How you have kept 2 wives for all these years is simply amazing. When I come back in my next life I want to be your children who get paid and don’t have to show up for work. How sweet is that. As for your business model or lack thereof it’s deficient in ethics, morality, honesty and heart. You’re not managing robots, your managing real human beings with feelings and emotions. I was always amazed how some of your employees qualified for food stamps while working at Mardi Gras. Apparently they were not paid enough. Why are you crying over a cut in pay. You’ve been doing it to others for years. Can’t get a new Beamer this week. No more tailor made suits. Oh my. If you’re going to put yourself out there you need to make sure your closet is clean of skeletons. I tried to find something positive to write, but I simply couldn’t, there is nothing positive about a bully.

  • john lucka

    April 5, 2018 at 11:10 am

    do remember back in the day when hollywood would air professional fights via satellite in one of there larger areas of the building back then dan atkins was a manager or one of the tracks divisions.he was the one at the door who took money for admission to these pay for view fights. he would talk among buddies one dollar for them three dollars for me. he was stealing from owners way back then and they were incompetent to figure it out.but they were rarely on site so they ended up with a fox in the chicken coop
    cant image how much he stole from them.
    atkins hired his family they were on the payroll and they never showed up for work.
    from reading all of these comments seems like atkins and the ownership were both sewage it will be enjoyable for both parties to end up with giant legal bills.
    although atkins will do his best not to pay his legal fees when ends up with zero.

  • larry K

    April 7, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    under Dan Adkins time at Hazel Park employees went for 23 years with no raise in pay plus many benefits were lost with promises bear with us and things will change. he worked out deals with union officials to sell out its members . I’m glad he may finally see how badly he treated the employees of Hazel Park. Hoping the H & T prevail

  • Marty J. Matuszak

    April 10, 2018 at 8:44 am

    I find it funny Dan after all these years, your luck, I’m sorry, your bullshit finally caught up with you! You always thought you were better than everyone! Smarter than everyone! You treated good people like shit and your flunkies like gold. Back in 1996 when I first met you at Hazel Park, I saw the devil in your eye’s and in that smug grin of yours. I read you like a book! What a snake! In this world Dan, good always conquer’s evil and I hope you get everything you have coming to you! You made your bed now lie in it. I told you a long time ago karma was a bitch! She finally found you! Now you can be someone’s bitch in jail! How fitting! LOL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Marty j. Matuszak

    April 10, 2018 at 9:31 am

    I’m glad karma finally caught up with you Devil, ( I mean Dan)! Your evil empire has finally fallen! Thank you, Heidi Hartman for finally cutting the snakes head off! Now go put this slime ball in jail!

Comments are closed.


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