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Cordish Sues Md. Jockey Club For Defamation

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Mike Schuh 370x278 Mike Schuh
Mike Schuh joined WJZ Eyewitness News as a general assignment reporter...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The developer who won the battle to get slots at Arundel Mills is suing the owners of Pimlico and the Preakness for, among other things, trying to block slots at the mall. 

Mike Schuh says this story begins in Indiana.

A lawsuit says David Cordish successfully managed an Indiana casino, but when its owner stopped paying Cordish his management fee, Cordish threatened to sue.  The lawsuit contains an email from the casino owner telling Cordish to drop the lawsuit or he’ll disrupt Cordish’s attempt to get a Maryland slots license.  Cordish did sue and that casino owner, among others, helped to bankroll the anti-Cordish, anti-slots campaign.  But Cordish won the slots license and the vote to locate slots at Arundel Mills.

“You can’t come here and besmirch the good name of an honest group of companies and an honest man,” said Billy Murphy, Cordish’s attorney.

Now Cordish wants his attorney to win in court and is suing that Indiana casino owner and the Maryland Jockey Club and its owner.

“This lawsuit is aimed at righting the wrong at David Cordish and his company’s reputation,” Murphy said.

In response to this lawsuit, the Jockey Club emailed a statement.  They say it’s based on speculation and innuendo and is an attempt by Cordish to restrain the First Amendment and free speech.

“The law is smart that it permits free speech but it does not permit defamation,” Murphy said.

This isn’t just about slots and money: this suit is also designed to send a message.

“Although you can say that some people might walk away from that, I think the better view is that you do what you’re supposed to do to keep that from ever happening again,” Murphy said.

Nothing ever happens quickly with civil suits like this.  It could be years before this goes before a jury or is settled out of court. 

Cordish is asking for $600 million in damages.

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