Foxwoods lawyer: Pa. delay opens venture to new investors
By WILLIAM SOKOLIC
For The Norwich Bulletin
Posted Jan 16, 2010 @ 11:05 PM
A Foxwoods attorney in Philadelphia says the decision to request an extension to open the casino until December 2012 will depend on the wishes of new investors negotiating with the company.
“Then we’ll make a final determination and prepare a timeline to get it built,” said Stephen A. Cozen, the lawyer who represents the project. Foxwoods is dealing with a number of investors with gaming experience nationwide and internationally, he said.
Before Pennsylvania approved table games for casinos last week, the Foxwoods project had until May 2011 to open a slots parlor with at least 1,500 machines or lose its license. The company has considered a temporary casino to meet the deadline. But a provision imbedded into the legislation allows Foxwoods to apply to the Pennsylvania Gaming Board for an extension until December 2012. The board must approve the application.
Impact of new law
The board, upon application and for good cause shown, may grant an extension for an additional period ending no later than 36 months from the end of the initial one-year period or Dec. 31, 2012, according to the wording of the new law. Foxwoods has already received extensions for two years.
“We are still not sure whether or not we will need the extension,” said Gary D. Armentrout, president of the Foxwoods Development Co., the arm of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe that owns Foxwoods Resort Casino and the MGM Grand at Foxwoods. “We are still evaluating a number of possibilities.
The partners are talking with contractors in the meantime, Armentrout said. “It is just comforting to know that we have that option as the law was silent on the matter before.”
The new change recognizes that the project was held up by forces in the city and the search to find new investors, Cozen said.
“It’s to everyone’s best interest not to put up a temporary structure and have the time to put up something more amenable to success,” he said. “But we have to make that case to the gaming board.”
If the deal with investors closes, the new people will take over the role of developer and operator from Foxwoods Development Co., Cozen said.
“Foxwoods Development Co. is in not in a position to carry out the obligations they had under original agreements,” Cozen said. “But Foxwoods is a partner and have certain rights that will be dealt with and negotiated.”
Copyright 2010 Norwich Bulletin.