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Appeals court sides with Lauth in casino suit

Michael W.
July 15, 2008
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Indianapolis developer Lauth Property Group didn't breach a joint venture contract with a Chicago company when Lauth abandoned the joint venture and formed a partnership with a different company to build a hotel and casino in the southern Indiana town of French Lick, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled today.

The state's second-highest appeals court unanimously overturned a ruling from a Hamilton County judge that determined Lauth had violated the agreement to build the $382 million project. The appeals court sent the case back to Hamilton Superior Judge Steven Nation for further proceedings.

It's the first time the appellate court has ruled on the issue, spelling out exactly when joint ventures end if the agreements don't have a specific termination date.

Chicago-based Merit Management claimed Lauth broke their joint venture when Lauth formed Orange County Holdings LLC with Bloomington billionaire Bill Cook. Merit sought $100 million in damages.

Lauth turned to Cook after its proposal with Merit was rejected by the Indiana Gaming Commission in favor of
another proposal submitted by Trump Indiana Casino Management, which was backed by real estate developer Donald Trump.

However, the Trump project fell through, opening the door for Orange County Holdings. The casino opened in November 2006.

Lauth's partnership with Merit ended when the commission chose the Trump proposal, the appeals court ruled. Thus, Lauth was free to form a new partnership.

Lauth's relationship with Cook turned frosty, too.

In June last year, Cook's team bought out Lauth's share of Orange County Holdings after Lauth accused Cook's project managers of incompetence and driving up costs of the project.

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  1. I am so impressed that the smoking ban FAILED in Kokomo! I might just move to your Awesome city!

  2. way to much breweries being built in indianapolis. its going to be saturated market, if not already. when is enough, enough??

  3. This house is a reminder of Hamilton County history. Its position near the interstate is significant to remember what Hamilton County was before the SUPERBROKERs, Navients, commercial parks, sprawling vinyl villages, and acres of concrete retail showed up. What's truly Wasteful is not reusing a structure that could still be useful. History isn't confined to parks and books.

  4. To compare Connor Prairie or the Zoo to a random old house is a big ridiculous. If it were any where near the level of significance there wouldn't be a major funding gap. Put a big billboard on I-69 funded by the tourism board for people to come visit this old house, and I doubt there would be any takers, since other than age there is no significance whatsoever. Clearly the tax payers of Fishers don't have a significant interest in this project, so PLEASE DON'T USE OUR VALUABLE MONEY. Government money is finite and needs to be utilized for the most efficient and productive purposes. This is far from that.

  5. I only tried it 2x and didn't think much of it both times. With the new apts plus a couple other of new developments on Guilford, I am surprised it didn't get more business. Plus you have a couple of subdivisions across the street from it. I hope Upland can keep it going. Good beer and food plus a neat environment and outdoor seating.

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