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Horseshoe casino lawsuit dismissal hearing set for Monday

A hearing on a motion to dismiss a lawsuit attempting to halt construction of the Horseshoe Baltimore casino has been set for July 29 in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

The groundbreaking of the new Horseshoe Casino site on Russell Street in South Baltimore. (Maximilian Franz/The Daily Record)

The hearing will begin at 2:30 p.m., said G. Macy Nelson, a Towson environmental attorney who filed the lawsuit this spring on behalf of a group of city residents, most of whom live in Westport near the site.

The plaintiffs claim that the city is breaking the law by allowing chemicals to run into the Middle Branch, which abuts the $400 million casino site. City attorneys have filed to dismiss the lawsuit.

The location of the future gambling parlor once held the Maryland Chemical Co., where arsenic, chromium and tetrachloroethylene have been found in the soil by the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The city lawsuit is one of several legal challenges related to the casino, owned by Caesars Entertainment Group in partnership with a local group of investors under the umbrella CBAC Gaming LLC.

A federal Clean Water Act violation lawsuit against the casino owners was filed in early July by Nelson on behalf of two residents. No hearing date had been set for that lawsuit.

Another federal lawsuit charging the casino owners and Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. with a violation of the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act is expected to be filed later this summer. That suit is based on claims of a lack of liability protections at the site that have led to contamination of the Middle Branch of the Patapsco River, according to a July 12 letter sent by Timothy R. Henderson, attorney for the plaintiffs.

Whiting-Turner broke ground on the casino and a 4,000-space parking garage in late May.

A portion of the litigations are being funded by the private Inner Harbor Stewardship Foundation, whose membership has remained unknown.

Nelson has declined to comment on the identity of the funders, while Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has said the lawsuits are “funded by anonymous shadow interests.”