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Hounds, One Loudoun court battle begins

Loudoun HoundsFrom raising $13 million to having only $671.63 left in a bank account: The tale of VIP Sports and Entertainment‘s attempt to bring independent baseball and professional soccer to Loudoun, Virginia.

VIP Sports and Entertainment was the firm seeking to bring Atlantic League baseball (in the form of the Loudoun Hounds) and NASL soccer (in the form of Virginia Cavalry FC) to Loudoun County. The plan went through a few iterations — starting at Kincora Village, ending up at One Loudoun — before the wheels came off the bus. Even though VIP raised some $13 million via investors and bank loans, what had been a promising sports development in a desirable demographic ended up with the One Loudoun developer suing to end the ballpark deal in September 2014.

That lawsuit is now making it way through the legal system. Bill May, the One Loudoun developer, has a clear dislike for VIP Sports and Entertainment, but he’ll need to wait before a divorce is completed: a request for summary judgement was denied, and the case will go to trial in October.

However, during the discussion of a summary judgement, documents relating to the VIP/One Loudoun relationship were released in court. VIP Sports and Entertainment proved to be adept at selling the merits of indy ball in Loudoun County and their ability to deliver a new ballpark. Naming rights to the ballpark were sold to Edelman Financial for $10 million. Sixty-one investors ponied up $7 million to finance the operation. Another $3.25 million was borrowed from a local bank. By the end of 2014, VIP says it had only $671.63 left in a bank account. Where did the money go? From the Loudoun Times:

Millions of dollars went to architectural services; millions were paid for grading and attempting to get an area ready both at Kincora and One Loudoun; possibly a million was spent trying to keep up with payroll, which included a six-figure salary for both Chief Financial Officer Harry Stokes and [CEO Bob] Farren; hundreds of thousands of dollars on branding and marketing; and “a lot of money wasted on securing financing,” according to the executive.

At the peak of VIP Baseball, as many as 10 people were on the payroll or doing consulting, working out of a Pacific Boulevard office….

And although it was clear VIP was having some financial problems as early as 2013, the group held a groundbreaking in 2013, and a new CEO, Mark Stavish, was brought in as CEO. But the project stalled — VIP says the One Loudoun developer was acting in bad faith and was seeking to build its own ballpark:

VIP alleges One Loudoun failed to convey the property to them, provide a formal notice to proceed with construction, install utility hook-ups, install lights and sidewalks, level the ground on the site or obtain the correct plot plan for the property.

They further alleged One Loudoun unreasonably withheld and delayed approval on multiple occasions of VIP’s designs of the baseball stadium and other areas on the property.

The lease agreement, however, states the land was to be deeded over to VIP “as-is.”

It should be an interesting trial, if it get that far.

RELATED STORIES: More on the Hounds and the future Loudoun County baseball; One Loudoun breaks with baseball, soccer teams; Hounds seek new bonds for ballpark construction; New Hounds ballpark approved; Local residents: Loudoun Hounds, stay off our lawns!; Loudoun Hounds: We have deal for 2014 ballpark; Pro soccer could revive Loudoun Hounds ballpark plan; New Loudoun ballpark delayedNew for 2012: Loudoun Hounds

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