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Week in review – 2/17/12: Grand Prix group picked

Grand Prix group picked

The managers of Downforce Racing LLC, the group chosen to run the Baltimore Grand Prix for the next five years, say this year’s race will be better than last year’s, the first, for which debts exist. The city Board of Estimates will review the contract Feb. 22 and consider approving Downforce Racing. The group is led by Dale Dillon, an Indianapolis-based developer, and Felix Dawson and Dan Reck, founding partners of Baltimore-based Wilkes Lane Capital LLC and former executives at Constellation Energy Group.

Audit faults DBED

An audit by the Department of Legislative Services released Tuesday found that the state’s Department of Business and Economic Development was deficient in not requiring applicants to the One Maryland Tax Credit program to document their project and startup costs, and that it failed to recoup a $250,000 investment in an international technology company that moved its principal business outside of Maryland after receiving state funding.

Gas tax plan revealed

Gov. Martin O’Malley’s proposal to phase in a 6 percent sales tax on gasoline includes money for local road repairs, rules to make it harder to shift transportation dollars to other purposes, and a mechanism to delay implementing the tax if gas prices spike. O’Malley introduced the legislation to the General Assembly on Tuesday.

Website accessibility bill

Civil rights and business groups battled Wednesday over legislation that would require many restaurants, theaters and other entities in Maryland to make their websites accessible to the hearing- and visually-impaired. Business groups called its requirements too expensive, while rights organizations said the measure is necessary because so many business announcements are posted online.

Professor’s suit revived

A fired accounting professor will have another chance to bring his $3.5 million wrongful-termination claim against University of Maryland University College in state court. The Court of Special Appeals’ decision reversed a judge’s ruling that Edward C. McReady failed to file documents in time. He claims he was fired for objecting to the hiring of an inexperienced teacher. McReady is pursuing the case under the Maryland Whistleblower Law in Montgomery County Circuit Court.

Md. company honored

Vorbeck Materials, of Jessup, is one of three winners of the U.S. Department of Energy’s “America’s Next Top Energy Innovator Challenge,” an online competition for startup companies. Vorbeck has worked with the DOE and Princeton University to develop fast-charging, high-powered batteries that can work in smartphones and other small devices.

Ambulance firm case

The Court of Special Appeals has revived a woman’s $30 million claim that an ambulance company’s negligence caused her son to suffer permanent brain damage. The court said a Talbot County judge had wrongfully dismissed Karen Murray’s lawsuit against TransCare Maryland after concluding, erroneously, that the company could not be liable for damages because it had not charged her a fee.

Med-mal verdict upheld

The Court of Special Appeals has upheld a $3.6 million verdict for a 9-year-old boy who suffered brain damage because doctors were too slow to perform a Caesarean section when his mother suffered complications 26 months into her pregnancy. The University of Maryland Medical System had argued that it should be absolved of liability because it had saved the baby’s life by stopping his mother’s preterm labor and putting her on bed rest three weeks early.

ADA suit settled

A candidate for a security guard position who had his job offer pulled because he has sight in only one eye has settled his discrimination case against Broadway Services, of Baltimore, for $40,000. The case was headed to trial in U.S. District Court in Baltimore. The settlement did not include a job offer.

Historic diner reopens

With a new look, new staff and new menu items, the Hollywood Diner reopened in downtown Baltimore after being closed since January. The diner was featured in Barry Levinson’s 1982 movie, “Diner.”

Huguely murder trial

A circuit judge in Charlottesville, Va., refused Wednesday to reduce or dismiss charges in the first-degree murder trial of a former University of Virginia lacrosse player accused of killing his girlfriend. George Huguely V is from Montgomery County; Yeardley Love was from Cockeysville.