THE STATE Commonwealth Court, in a 6-1 decision yesterday, rejected an appeal from the investors behind Foxwoods to overturn the state Gaming Control Board's December 2010 ruling to revoke their gaming license for a delayed South Philly project.
The investors argued in a Sept. 15 hearing in Harrisburg that the board had moved too swiftly on two key issues: whether the investors were still "financially suitable" to build a casino and whether they had violated a series of deadlines set by the board to get the long-stalled project moving.
After four years of delays, the investors were working on a third casino design and operator when the board pulled the plug.
Judges Mary Hannah Leavitt and P. Kevin Brobson supported the license revocation but in a concurring opinion they said they had done so because Foxwoods had missed so many board deadlines, not because of the financial suitability issue.
Judge Patricia A. McCullough cast the lone dissenting vote, noting that the investors had "vigorously disputed" the financial-suitability issue. McCullough also expressed concern that the decision caused the investors to lose the $50 million fee they paid for a state casino license without the benefit of a hearing to examine evidence.
The investors have 30 days to decide whether to appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. Their attorney, Steve Cozen, said they are studying the ruling.
"And while the result is disappointing, we are encouraged by the fact that at least three of the seven judges recognized that we were entitled to an evidentiary hearing with regard to financial suitability," Cozen said.
The board, in a statement, said it was "gratified" by the ruling.