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Lawsuit over letter of credit is filed by bowling alley group

The developers of a Hunt Valley sports bar and bowling alley, of which Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is a partner, are asking a federal court to prod a Rhode Island company to file paperwork necessary to move the project forward.

MVP Entertainment is a planned 63,000-square-foot leisure complex in Hunt Valley Towne Centre that will contain a 38-lane bowling alley, a sports bar and a memorabilia shop. The complex will occupy part of the space that used to house Wal-Mart store, which closed in 2008. The complete cost of the project has not been released.

At issue is a standby letter of credit, which is a guarantee from a bank to repay the default on a primary loan. The standby letter of credit is then used as collateral to obtain the primary loan from another bank. Baltimore-based MVP Lanes LLC entered into an agreement with RI Hispanic BancGroup LLC, of Pawtucket, R.I., for a $65 million standby letter of credit.

In June, according to the lawsuit, RI Hispanic received $90,000 in fees and told MVP it sent the letter to the bank set to issue the loan. MVP claims that since June it never received “actual confirmation” that the letter was sent and verified by the receiving bank.

Martien Eerhart, principal of RI Hispanic, did not return requests for comment.

MVP said in the lawsuit the letter is critical to the project, the bank set to issue the loan would not do so without it and RI Hispanic needs to either resend it or in some other way provide evidence it was sent. According to court documents, without the standby letter of credit, the project will not receive the loan and the entire project could be scuttled and the company forced to declare bankruptcy.

MVP Lanes partner and Baltimore trial lawyer Marc S. Rosen filed the lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order against RI Hispanic on Friday in the U.S. District Court in Baltimore.

“I’m hopeful there will be a resolution,” Rosen said. “We’ve done 100 percent of what we were supposed to do and we need them now to do what they were supposed to do.”

Rosen said construction has come to a stop at the site as they wait for the loan, which would allow them to complete MVP Entertainment. He said if the standby letter of credit situation can get cleared up and the loan secured, construction could resume and the project wrapped up in six or seven months. He said the loan is also crucial to resolving the six active mechanic’s liens that have been placed against the project since October.

“This has been slow and painful for all concerned,” Rosen said. “But, it’s not over until it’s over as far as I’m concerned and I’m not going to give up on this. We’re going to keep fighting.”

Rosen, who was chairman of the board of K Bank, which was closed by federal regulators in November 2010, and his wife are minority equity partners in MVP Lanes. Lewis, the majority equity partner, has been setting up business opportunities for his post-football career.