Reporting Pat Warren
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.