With ruling, panel to seek new slots bidders for city

A judge has cleared the way for the state slots commission to seek proposals for companies to build and manage the casino approved for Baltimore.

Baltimore Circuit Court Judge John Phillip Miller ruled that a Canadian developer had no claim on the land off of Russell Street that the city selected as a site for the slots parlor.

The Baltimore City Entertainment Group, led by Toronto developer Michael Moldenhauer, had sought $100 million in damages after the city revoked the group’s right to develop the property. The city, which cut ties with Moldenhauer after the state commission rejected his group’s application for a slots license, had asked the judge to end the deal.

Moldenhauer’s group was the only applicant for a the Baltimore slots license.

While Miller did not grant the city's request to dismiss the group’s lawsuit in its entirety, he granted several of the city's motions, and ruled that “the City is, and remains, the only titleholder to the real property.”

The city is “free and clear from any claims by BCEG under its contracts” and “there exists no cloud upon the title of the property,” Miller wrote in his opinion this week.

The Baltimore City Entertainment Group characterized the ruling as a victory, because Miller is allowing the case to proceed to the discovery process.

“We are very pleased with this ruling,” Moldenhauer said in a statement. “We are confident that our breach of contract suit as it goes forward will show that the city needs to let us build our project.”City solicitor George Nilson, meanwhile, said the victory is the city’s.

State slots commission chair Donald Fry said he hoped to issue a new request for proposals for the casino within the next two months.

“This certainly moves us another step forward but there other details we need to work out,” Fry said.

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