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Centerplan: Yard Goats Pressured City on Dunkin’ Donuts Park Changes

Dunkin' Donuts Park

Centerplan, the former developer of Dunkin’ Donuts Park, alleges that the Hartford Yard Goats (Class AA; Eastern League) forced the city into making changes to the ballpark it could not afford. Representatives for the team, however, argue that the claim is unfounded. 

Centerplan Co. and DoNo Hartford were the original developers of Dunkin’ Donuts Park, but saw their contract terminated by the city in June 2016 after multiple deadlines were missed. The legal fallout from that decision continues to unfold, with Centerplan suing the Yard Goats and owner Josh Solomon for tortious interference and unfair trade practices, and the team countersuing the developers.

During final arguments last week for a summary judgement that was requested by the Yard Goats and Solomon, an attorney for Centerplan argued that the team used the City of Hartford to order costly changes it had no way to cover financially. To counter that claim, an attorney for the Yard Goats said that there was no evidence that the team had forced any changes. More from The Hartford Courant:

The move, [Raymond] Garcia said in his motion opposing the summary judgment, made it impossible for his client to finish the ballpark on time and also would free Solomon of having to make a $2 million contribution toward the project’s completion.

The assertion prompted [Superior Court Judge Thomas] Moukawsher to ask how it constituted tortious interference and if it showed that the team was committing unfair trade practices.

Anthony Sbarra, attorney for the team and Solomon, argued that there was no evidence that the team pressured the city to order construction change directives.

Sbarra also referred to a deposition with ballpark architect Jonathan O’Neil Cole and an affidavit from Michael Looney, then the city’s director of projects, which both said the team never tried to influence the city.

There have been multiple legal cases unfolding, as Centerplan has also sued–and been countersued by–the City of Hartford. While the ballpark construction contract was terminated in June 2016, the city more recently moved in October to end its contract with the companies to develop mixed-use amenities in the area surrounding Dunkin’ Donuts Park. Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher will have four months to issue a decision on the summary judgement.

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