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Over objection, Baltimore board awards contract to operate Pier Six Pavilion

Baltimore's Board of Estimates voted 4-0 Wednesday to award a contract to Live Nation and SMG to operate the Pier Six Pavilion, over a competitor's objections.

AEG Live Mid-Atlantic, one of the entertainment companies passed over for the contract, accused the Baltimore Development Corp. and the city of violating local law in recommending the contract. A. William Reid, senior vice president of AEG Live Mid-Atlantic, argued before the board that the fix was in for SMG.

"We kept hearing, anecdotally, that this [request for proposals] was a done deal," he said. "This was a payback to SMG."

In September, the BDC said the city chose to move forward with Live Nation and SMG because it had the largest capital improvement program and the most optimal returns for the city.

Live Nation and SMG would invest $3.4 million in capital improvements over the contract's term and would hold at least 25 shows annually, according to details included in the Board of Estimates agenda.

Reid said his firm's offer was to hold 45 shows a year. He said the bid was worth more than $20 million to the city in profit-sharing.

"Something is fishy," he said. "This could be a case of contract steering."

Representatives from the BDC and the city law department disputed that claim and said there was no favoritism in evaluating the bids.

Comptroller Joan M. Pratt abstained from the vote. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young and other board members voted to approve the contract with SMG.

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

twitter.com/lukebroadwater

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