Saying they have five potential new investors for their South Philadelphia gambling hall, the partners in the endangered Foxwoods Casino project have made yet another plea to the state for more time to work out a deal.
In a filing late Tuesday with the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board, the group - Philadelphia Entertainment and Development Partners - reported that it had received "term sheets," or general terms of a nonbinding agreement, from each of the five unnamed prospects.
PEDP "is working on an accelerated schedule in an effort to narrow this group down and reach an agreement in principle with one of the investors," the partners said in their motion for an extension of four months.
Included in the four documents they submitted Tuesday were reasons the gaming board should not revoke Foxwoods' $50 million license, a recommendation that lawyers for the board had made at an April 29 hearing.
Since winning that license in 2006, the Foxwoods group has suffered setbacks and has missed deadlines for submitting architectural and financial details to the board. The project needs money and managerial help to move forward with a full-scale casino on Columbus Boulevard.
According to PEDP's filing to the board, Foxwoods' predicament was "due solely" to the "unilateral termination" of a deal with Las Vegas gaming mogul Steve Wynn to develop the casino.
Wynn pulled out April 8, just six days after he had signed a final agreement with local investors.
Attorneys for Foxwoods and for the gaming board then worked out an arrangement that would have given the partners four months to replace Wynn. But board members quashed that idea April 29, a decision the Foxwoods group called "arbitrary and capricious" in its filing Tuesday.
The partners are asking for not only an extension of time, but also relief from fines. Since Dec. 1, they have been fined $2,000 a day, and so far have paid $300,000 to the gaming board.
Foxwoods also is asking the state for more time to apply for table-games authorization.
With the passage of a new state gaming law in January, Pennsylvania casinos had until June 1 to pay a $16.5 million fee to add table games. After that deadline, the fee rises to $24.75 million. If the Foxwoods project survives its current turmoil, PEDP wants to be charged the lower fee.
If stripped of its license, PEDP has threatened to sue the gaming board to recoup the $50 million cost.
Under the original plan, the Mashantucket Pequot tribe of Connecticut was to have developed and managed the casino. But the recession hit the tribe hard, making it impossible for it to lead the project.
That has left key decision-making for PEDP to three local entrepreneurs: developer Ron Rubin, lawyer Lewis Katz, and Comcast-Spectacor chairman Ed Snider. Rubin and Katz have family charitable trusts that are partners in the project, and Snider has pledged his profits to charity.
The Foxwoods group has requested a hearing on the future of its license. One had yet to be scheduled, said Doug Harbach, a spokesman for the gaming board.