Baltimore Grand Prix Scheduled Despite Debt Owed To Vendors

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—There’s more fallout about unpaid bills owed by Baltimore Racing Development.

Pat Warren reports the debts appear to be mounting.

The Baltimore Grand Prix is turning out to be a strange combination of congratulations and debt collection.

Labor Day weekend started the engine on what city officials racing fans celebrated as the Grand Prix’s grand success.

But if Sunrise Safety Service doesn’t get its money, owner Cathy Vogel is afraid the sun will set on her traffic control company, and the only sign they’ll be making is “Going Out of Business.”

“Hopefully, it won’t put me out of business,” Vogel said. “But it’s very scary right now.”

Vogel says Baltimore Racing Development owes her $200,000. It’s one of several debts the Grand Prix racked up, but hasn’t been able to pay up.

The vendor that put in the grandstands is suing for $350,000.

According to a Visit Baltimore report, the economic impact of the Grand Prix was about $47 million–$4 million was spent with vendors and restaurants inside the track, $2 million was generated in state taxes and $1.68 million in city tax.

Those who haven’t been paid say “show me the money.”

“I just don’t understand how Baltimore City could’ve let these people get away with this. I don’t understand,” Vogel said.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake continued to avoid questions about the outstanding debts on Friday.

“I spoke to you off camera that she’s not answering any questions at this point. Thank you so much,” said a Rawlings-Blake spokeswoman.

Neither has Vogel received a reply to a certified letter sent to Councilman Bill Cole, who helped promote the race.

WJZ contacted the offices of all councilmembers. All were either unavailable or did not return our calls.

On Thursday race spokesman Jay Davidson offered assurances that the bills will be paid.

“You know at the end of the day, as I said, this was anticipated and it’s unfortunately part of the model for a race like this,” Davidson said.

Vendors probably wish they had known that going in.

The race is scheduled to run next year. By that time, the Baltimore Racing Development expects to be on solid ground.

The city signed a five-year agreement with the race.

More from Pat Warren
  • sheriff

    The little people always wait for their $$. The organizers & middle men including council & Mayor get their off the top right away….Just the way it is.

  • County Bound

    As a resident of Baltimore I am glad the Grand Prix was a flop financialy for the city.This mayor continues to show her disreguard for the working people that live here in the city,she remains focused on downtown and ignore our neighborhoods.Bad roads,blighted neigborhoods and speed cameras everywhere.Baltimore’s economy cannot support an event like this which now is clearly evident.The Mayor can find money for the Grand Prix but not rec centers or city pools in the summertime,what a hypercrite.

  • Jan Greenhawk

    I feel bad for the businesses who have been robbed of what is due them, not to mention their employees. I am sure Mayor Blake isn’t out any money.

  • Daisy

    This was a good idea when it started and hopefully these issues will be ironed out. This typing of racing event has been a huge benefit to cities like St. Petersburg, Florida. That was the hope I held for this city and this event. This event was supposed to funnel millions into the city to benefit the working people. The intention of the mayor and council could not have been to harm the city. If we expect perfection, however, we will be sadly disappointed.

  • Sylvester Woodland

    I know a secret about how most of the seats were filled for the Gran Prix. It was a terrific idea and it helped a lot of people to come out and enjoy the event. But, it was not a money maker for those putting on the event. For more questions and answers email Sylvester at This is not a gimic there are no fees or no cost to retrieve this information. If you interested in the truth just email me with proper credentials. thank you.

  • whatnow

    Good, I’m glad they are having the race. I get a free day off because we can’t get to the office with all the roads closed! If they wanted to make money off a race, they should have tried harder when NASCAR wanted to come to the Middle River area. That is where the money is, not Indy.

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