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Judge Denies State Center Suit Counterclaim

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BALTIMORE (AP) — A Baltimore judge has dismissed a counterclaim by state officials against downtown property owners opposing the $1.6 billion State Center development.

Baltimore Circuit Judge Althea M. Handy issued the order Friday. The suit alleges the state did not seek competitive bids for master developers in 2005 and the redevelopment will hurt the city’s central business district.

The state’s counterclaim sought $100 million for increased costs of construction, financing and building maintenance because of delays caused by the challenge. The property owners argued earlier this week that they have a First Amendment right to go to court to protest plans to redevelop the aging midtown government office complex. The state argued the suit was sham litigation filed to derail the project and was not protected under the First Amendment.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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