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Baltimore Grand Prix faces financial issues future uncertain

Baltimore Racing Development (BRD), the company that hosted the Baltimore Grand Prix (BGP), is facing financial woes. It has $1.6 million in unpaid bills that it has not paid to various vendors and companies. This puts into question the ability for Baltimore and BRD to host the event in the future.

The three day event, which took place over Labor Day weekend, was considered a great success by city leaders and politicians. However, companies who want to get paid might feel differently.

BRD knows its financial mistakes and admits the BGP was a money loser. It says it will settle all debts and and having a stable monetary footing next year, so it can host the event again. IndyCar officials have already put Baltimore on the racing schedule for 2012.

"They've got to figure out a way to make this thing work," said Baltimore City Councilman William H. Cole IV, one of the staunchest supporters of the event.

"We are going to make the payments. We're going through some issues, and I'm trying like hell to get out in front of it." said Peter Collier.

Companies awaiting payment include, the Maryland Stadium Authority, Upper Marlboro Company, and B & K Rentals. The largest current debt is to the Maryland Stadium Authority, an independent state agency, which is due $470,000. The company lent BRD $2 million for much needed road improvements and infrastructure projects to help put on the race. "They've been very up front that they lost money… We're trying to protect the investment made with taxpayers' money. We're hoping for the best but preparing for the worst." said Michael J. Frenz, executive director of the stadium authority.

Upper Marlboro Company, and B & K Rentals is owed $350,00 for putting up the Grandstands and private seating around the racecourse. "I question how they're going to keep this race going if they can't pay their vendors," said John W. Bunting, who owns both companies. "This was a great event for the city of Baltimore, but we want to get paid.”

Probably due to this Jay Davidson will be changing roles and duties for next year.

There are also many individuals that lining up and filing suit against the BRD. Robert Roman, is suing for $50,000 load made to Davidson. Roman wants $57,000, which is the interest on the loan. Roman is Davidson's father-in-law, making this matter especially difficult.
Hilary Schultz, the former lawyer for the BRD, claims she is owed $275,000 in unpaid legal bills. BRD says she overcharged and did not act in BRD's best interest.

Steven Wehenr, who started BRD, and Sean Conley, who as an early investor, filed suit too. Wehner says he is owed $575,000 for his 10.2 percent stake in the company. Conlery claims he did receive $320,000 for selling his shares to the company.

The only payment the company seems to be updated on is from the Maryland Economic Development Corp, a quasi-public agency. It got a $500,000 loan last year.

If the Baltimore Racing Development can't pay its debts, I am sure that next year Baltimore won't have racing on Labor Day weekend.

Please contact Adam Yamada-Hanff – [email protected] – for comments, questions, or topics. You can also follow him on Twitter @AdamsAutoAdvice

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