RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — A Richmond judge has dismissed a developer’s lawsuit against the City of Norfolk that claimed they — as operators of Waterside District — had the first right to open a casino in the city, not the Pamunkey Indian Tribe.
In June 2021, Norfolk District Associates — the LLC formed by Cordish Companies to redevelop waterside nine years ago — filed a lawsuit alleging the city went back on its word and conspired against them when it helped the Pamunkey tribe establish plans to develop a casino near Harbor Park.
Baltimore-based Cordish Companies claimed they had first dibs on expanding to build a casino if gambling ever became legal in Virginia under the terms of their lease agreement. Cordish signed an agreement with Norfolk and the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA) to redevelop the Waterside District in 2013.
The lawsuit sought $100 million in damages and asked a judge to void the Pamunkey tribe’s $500-million resort-casino deal with the city.
In the court order on April 7, the judge said the agreement between Cordish and Norfolk in regards to gambling didn’t create an obligation on the part of the city to do anything. The judge ruled that because of that, there could be no “conspiracy.”
The suit was dismissed with prejudice.
Norfolk City Attorney Bernard Pishko released a statement after the ruling Friday.
“The Court has concluded that Cordish had no basis to sue the City, City Attorney and NRHA and rightfully dismissed Cordish’s suit without even requiring the defendants to file an answer. Cordish should abide by its lease and reimburse the legal fees they caused.”
Cordish companies’ attorney has not yet responded to a request for comment.