Hard Rock financiers want Seminole suit dropped

Published July 16, 2006

HOLLYWOOD - The company that built two lucrative Hard Rock Hotel & Casino complexes for the Seminole Tribe of Florida filed a motion in federal court to dismiss a lawsuit the tribe brought to void their financing contract.

The tribe's lawsuit is an attempt to avoid paying the more than $2-billion it owes Power Plant and Cordish, the developer claims in the motion filed Friday.

The hotel casinos in Tampa and Hollywood have netted more than $1-billion in profit for the tribe and more than $310-million for Power Plant and Cordish, according to court records.

Now, both sides are arguing over a contract the tribe signed six years ago with Power Plant to finance the hotels. The tribe claims the financial agreement is "illegal and unconscionable" and that payments amount to nearly 30 percent of the casinos' net profits, according to their lawsuit filed last month.

But lawyers for Power Plant said tribal leaders knowingly entered into the agreements and stand to make $17.5-billion over the lifetime of the various deals, which run between 10 and 25 years. Without their backing, Power Plant lawyers said the tribe would never have been able to secure the more than $400-million in bonds they needed to build the hotels.

"They've proclaimed in 30 publications to us and others that the agreements are legal and valid, and to suddenly six years later claim they are invalid, after accepting all the benefits, is outrageous," Power Plant attorney Marty Steinberg said.

The tribe's attorney, Alan Kluger, did not immediately return a message left Saturday at his office.