Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Baltimore Grand Prix sued by its founder

Steven Wehner, the man responsible for the original idea to bring auto racing to the streets of downtown Baltimore, has filed a nearly $750,000 complaint against the organizers of the Baltimore Grand Prix.

According to the complaint, Baltimore Racing Development LLC was to have paid Wehner $575,000 over five years to purchase his 10.2 percent interest in the organization. But the filing claims that BRD has defaulted on its payments. Attached to the filing is an exhibit of the agreement between BRD and Wehner from May 12, 2010.

The agreement outlines a payment schedule in exchange for the ownership.

The agreement also states BRD will pay attorney’s fees of 15 percent of the total amount due, any accrued and unpaid interest, the full unpaid amount of the purchase price and court costs.

That would total to $749,866.12, according to the Baltimore City Circuit Court filing, known as a confession of judgment.

Jay G. Davidson, CEO of Baltimore Racing Development, could not be reached for comment. Wehner also could not be reached.

BRD was to pay Wehner $8,000 by May 5, 2010, which included $7,500 for consulting and severance. A second payment of $49,500 was due Dec. 5, 2010.

According to the contract, Wehner’s next payment — of $105,000 — isn’t due until 10 days after the Labor Day weekend race. The rest of the installments would also be paid within 10 days of each race from 2012 to 2015.

The agreement defines default in payment as failure to make payments from 2010 to 2012 within 60 days. For payments due during 2013 through 2015, BRD would have had 15 days.

Wehner, according to a recent story by The Baltimore Sun, was vital in talking to IndyCar officials, city and state leaders, to bring the Grand Prix to Baltimore. But, according to the story, after the contacts were made and as the event moved from the proposal stage toward reality, Wehner relinquished his leadership role to Davidson by February 2010.

This is the latest turn in a series of hurdles the Baltimore Grand Prix has had to overcome before debuting in mere weeks.

While many races in other cities — St. Petersburg, Fla., Long Beach, Calif., and Toronto, for example — have title sponsors, Baltimore’s Grand Prix does not.

And last fall, organizers had requested more time from the Maryland Stadium Authority to make bond payments to create the $1.9 million pit lane at the Oriole Park at Camden Yards parking lot.

Construction had been delayed on the pit row because of a design change, so organizers pushed back the payment that was originally due Oct. 1 to Nov. 30.

On Dec. 30, race organizers were due to make a final $500,000 payment to the MSA, and had received a $500,000 loan from the Maryland Economic Development Corp.

Wehner’s attorney, David B. Shapiro of the Law Offices of David B. Shapiro in Baltimore, did not return phone messages for comment.

Hilary Schultz, the Brookline, Mass.-attorney listed for Baltimore Racing Development in the agreement, could not be reached for comment.

The three-day event at the Inner Harbor is expected to lure 100,000 visitors and $70 million into the area.