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Developer Wins $ 5 Million Judgment Against The Port For Millennium Hotel Site

CINCINNATI (CINCINNATI INQUIRER) – A developer has won a $ 5 million judgment against the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority for its role in the redevelopment of the former Millennium Downtown hotel site.

Rob Smyjunas was granted summary judgment for costs related to the project by Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Tom Heekin, the port confirmed Thursday. to our media partners at the Cincinnati Enquirer.

“We defend the merits of our case and do not agree with the court’s decision. We are reviewing our options for moving forward, so it would be inappropriate to comment further, “The Port spokesperson Tom Milliken said in a statement.

The question was whether Smyjunas, who could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday morning, deserved further compensation for the acquisition of the rights to purchase the Millennium.

Smyjunas, CEO of Oakley-based Vandercar Holdings, secured a purchase contract for the hotel in late 2019 from Singaporean billionaire Kwek Leng Ben.

He then made a deal with The Port to transfer his purchasing rights to the public finance agency in exchange for redevelopment fees.

Smyjunas received fees of $ 2.5 million from the port after the closing of the $ 36 million purchase of the property at 150 W. Fifth St. on February 14, 2020.

But the port also agreed to pay him an additional $ 5 million in fees if he issues redevelopment bonds for the property within a year of the building’s closure.

Shortly after closing, The Port approved nearly $ 59 million in bonds to acquire and demolish the hotel.

Smyjunas argued that the ongoing demolition of the hotel, which closed on New Year’s Day, is part of the redevelopment of the site – although the port does not have concrete plans for further development there. low.

Smyjunas previously told The Enquirer that the bonds issued to finance the demolition should have triggered the immediate payment of the $ 5 million fee.

He sued The Port for breach of contract and bad faith negotiation.

A recent review by Enquirer of affidavits and other documents found that political pressure and behind-the-scenes fighting influenced the Millennium Accord.

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