PHILADELPHIA The partnership behind the failed Foxwoods Casino project in South Philadelphia filed Monday for bankruptcy court protection, citing claims of $23.6 million from 14 creditors.
In addition, Citizens Bank, the largest creditor, is owed an unspecified amount, according to the court petition. People familiar with the situation say the bank lent the project about $75 million.
The partnership last week sold its largest asset, a vacant 16.5-acre lot on South Columbus Boulevard between Tasker and Reed Streets. The property was transferred to developer Bart Blatstein for $13 million.
Of the proceeds, $8 million went to the City of Philadelphia to settle a tax bill.
The land sale came more than seven years after the Foxwoods Casino project was awarded a license to open a slot-machine parlor in Philadelphia.
Philadelphia Entertainment and Development Partners (PEDP), which included 13 local investors and the Mashantucket Pequot tribe of Connecticut, spent $50 million for the license.
But after repeated delays and problems with financing, the state's Gaming Control Board revoked the license in 2010 - and the state kept the $50 million license fee. The partnership tried unsuccessfully to retrieve the money through state courts.
Brian Ford, a PEDP representative, said that if the bankruptcy petition is accepted, the group will try to recover the licensing fee through action in federal court.
Ford, a casino-industry consultant who worked on the Foxwoods project, said the licensing fee was the partnership's only "contingent asset."
The creditors include five law firms: Cozen O'Connor, $6.46 million; Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg, $1.27 million; Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, $940,757; Blank Rome, $812,231; and Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, $677,930.
Others with claims are Ford, $4 million; Washington Philadelphia Investors, the partnership for local investors in the Foxwoods deal, $5.7 million; and Foxwoods Development Co., the development arm of the Mashantucket Pequot tribe, $2.64 million.
The main local investors in the Foxwoods deal included Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider, and family charitable trusts for developer Ron Rubin and the daughter of Lewis Katz. Katz is one of the owners of Interstate General Media, owner of The Inquirer.