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Booted from warehouse, promoter sues

Tractor-trailers are an omen when it comes to Baltimore football. So it was in September when such a vehicle, this one associated with CBS Radio Inc., pulled up outside a large warehouse in the shadows of M&T Bank Stadium.

Concert and event promoter 24/7 Entertainment LLC says it put a new roof on the Warner Street warehouse and made other improvements, but the landlord never intended to let it stay.

For 24-7 Entertainment LLC, the tractor-trailer signaled an unexpected end to the plans it had to turn the location into a year-round destination for concerts and events.

The company is now seeking more than $200,000 from its former landlord, Second Chance Inc., including $170,000 in lost future profits, according to a lawsuit filed last week in Baltimore City Circuit Court.

“It’s unfortunate it had to come to this,” said Chris Keith, special events manager for 24-7 Entertainment. “We’ve done everything we said we were going to do and then some.”

The building on Warner Street is the past and current location of radio station 105.7 The Fan’s Gameday Uncensored Warehouse during Baltimore Ravens’ home games. 24-7 Entertainment claims it repeatedly was assured by Second Chance that the landlord had no deal with The Fan’s parent company, CBS Radio.

But the promoter alleges Second Chance’s plan all along was to have 24-7 Entertainment renovate and promote the venue and operate it during “loss-producing preseason games” before going back to CBS Radio.

“Only after 24-7 was wrongfully removed from the venue did Second Chance’s nefarious scheme become apparent,” the lawsuit states.

Second Chance’s alleged breach of 24-7 Entertainment’s contract came one month after CBS Radio sought a temporary restraining order giving The Fan exclusive rights to use the warehouse during Ravens’ home games for the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

A note on the court file in the TRO case, dated Oct. 1, said CBS Radio and Second Chance had reached an agreement and the case could be set for dismissal, although the case is still listed as active in the court’s system.

Derek P. Roussillon, Second Chance’s lawyer, said Tuesday afternoon he had to speak with his client before commenting but did not respond by press time. Roussillon is a principal with Miles & Stockbridge PC in Baltimore.

Mark Foster, Second Chance’s founder and CEO, said in an affidavit in the CBS Radio case that his company anticipated $55,000 in revenue for use of the warehouse during Ravens’ home games in 2013.

CBS Radio and Second Chance signed a two-year contract in 2010 for The Fan to use the warehouse during Ravens’ home games, according to CBS Radio’s lawsuit. A contract extension was signed, but the two sides disagree on its duration: CBS Radio said it was good through December 2014, while Second Chance said it was only through January 2013.

Second Chance and 24-7 Entertainment, meanwhile, signed their two-year agreement in July. In opposing the TRO, Second Chance said CBS Radio representatives started claiming the contract extension was still in place that same month.

“This lawsuit is the latest attempt by Plaintiffs to bully Second Chance into allowing Plaintiffs to conduct business at Second Chance’s ‘warehouse,’” the motion states.

Timothy M. Gunning, CBS Radio’s lawyer and a Towson solo practitioner, did not respond to requests for comment.

24-7 Entertainment had big plans for the warehouse, which was to be rebranded “The Factory,” according to the lawsuit. In addition to Ravens’-related parties, the promoter envisioned concerts and radio station events throughout the year.

“That space had a lot of potential,” said Keith, who would have run the site for 24-7 Entertainment.

After signing the contract with Second Chance, 24-7 Entertainment spent nearly $30,000 on building renovations, including a new audio system, 13 flat-screen televisions and fresh paint, according to the complaint.

And the promoter started filling up The Factory’s calendar. 24-7 Entertainment forged a partnership with a different radio station, 98 Rock, and had booked six non-Ravens events at the site through the end of 2013, the complaint says.

Keith said the company was able to relocate some of those events but had to cancel others because sponsors did not like proposed alternative locations.

“They weren’t pleased and we lost the event,” he said.

Keith said the company was “blindsided” by Second Chance’s decision to go back to CBS Radio and that it had no idea of the change until the tractor trailer appeared, shortly after the Ravens’ first regular-season home game.

“Second Chance had done what it had continually promised not to do — evict 24-7 from the property and allow the CBS Group to take over its operation,” the lawsuit states.