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Ray Lewis’ MVP Lanes still looking for financing

MVP Lanes LLC hired RI Hispanic BancGroup LLC in June because its owner said it could help secure the financing that would help MVP move forward with a planned sports bar and bowling alley in Hunt Valley.

MVP Lanes, which counts Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis as a partner, has had to head back to the drawing board to line up financing after RI Hispanic’s promise did not materialize. In the course of the lawsuit against the Providence, R.I.-based company, MVP learned that RI Hispanic has no assets, no relationship with a bank and no trace of the $90,000 it had collected from the developers as a fee.

“We’re trying to repair the situation and replace the financing they defaulted on for us,” said MVP Lanes partner and Baltimore trial lawyer Marc S. Rosen.

Rosen filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Baltimore in August to force RI Hispanic to make good on its promise to secure what is known as a standby letter of credit, for $65 million from Scotia Bank of Canada. The letter is needed for the developers to secure the main financing from another bank.

The project, 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 a Walmart store that closed in 2008.

As of Monday, RI Hispanic had yet to find — or explain — where the $90,000 was. U.S. District Court Judge Richard D. Bennett said in an Oct. 7 memo denying RI Hispanic’s motion to dismiss for lack of jurisdiction that the company had missed two deadlines to put the $90,000 in the court’s trust account.

According to court records, RI Hispanic’s sole owner, Martien Eerhart, appeared before the court on Sept. 14. Eerhart told the court he had less than $1,700 in his personal bank account and the company itself had less than $1,500. Eerhart also contradicted what he had told MVP about his relationship with Scotia Bank of Canada, which would have provided the letter of credit.

“Eerhart conceded that, contrary to his previous representations to MVP in their [standby letter of credit] Agreement negotiations, he had no direct relationship with Scotia Bank and had never spoken to any Scotia Bank employees,” Bennett wrote.

Messages left for Eerhart were not returned.

RI Hispanic itself has been incorporated in Rhode Island since 2007, according to the Secretary of State’s office. But, in a 2009 filing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Rhode Island, where Eerhart and his wife filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, he said RI Hispanic was a never-used holding company. He added that RI Hispanic had “been defunct since December 2008” and had no assets.

At the time of the filing, the Eerharts listed $200,000 in assets, mainly the value of their home, and $732,372 in liabilities. Eerhart listed his occupation as a wellness coach with the YMCA of Greater Providence. A representative from the YMCA said Monday that Eerhart was no longer employed with the organization.

In September, Bennett required Eerhart, to surrender his passport.

Eerhart’s attorney, Samuel M. Riley, of Baltimore, declined to comment on the case but said the money would be put into the court’s account.

According to an Oct. 7 court filing, Riley said that RI Hispanic had an arrangement with Cape Canaveral Investments Corp., of Palmetto Bay, Fla., for them to deliver the funds into the registry of the court.

Rosen said Eerhart had made earlier promises to find the $90,000 and put it into the trust account, with no success.

“I’ve heard the talk, but I haven’t seen the money yet,” Rosen said.