Fishmarket faces foreclosure Owners failed to pay $662,OOO in city taxes

January 21, 1993|By Timothy J. Mullaney | Timothy J. Mullaney,Staff Writer

The Fishmarket is facing foreclosure by a company that bought the city's right to take over the Inner Harbor complex, whose owners have failed to pay about $662,000 in city taxes.

GAA Inc. filed for foreclosure Monday on the Fishmarket. Jack Stoloff, a Baltimore banker and real estate investor, is the GAA partner who signed the court papers.

The Fishmarket went to tax sale in May 1991, when the city sold its rights to the building to another local partnership for the amount of delinquent back taxes on the Fishmarket. That sale gave the buyer of the "tax certificate" the right to foreclose on the property any time between November 1991 and May 1993.

The Fishmarket, which has been closed since 1989, is owned by a group led by Boston developer Frank McCourt.

Court papers said GAA bought the tax certificate from the first buyer for an undisclosed price Monday and went to Circuit Judge Joseph H.H. Kaplan, who gave Mr. McCourt's company and the many creditors who hold liens on the Fishmarket until March 19 to file objections. The foreclosure petition seeks title to the property free of liens.

David Cohen, a lawyer for GAA, said he would not comment on the filing because not all defendants in the case have been served with foreclosure papers.

Mr. McCourt; his local attorney, Isaac Neuberger; and a representative of a Massachusetts public relations firm that has represented Mr. McCourt and the Fishmarket did not return telephone calls yesterday.

Richard Kagan, an attorney in the city solicitor's office, said the McCourt interests could prevent the foreclosure by paying GAA the $662,000 that the city was owed in back taxes on May 13, 1991, plus 24 percent annual interest that has accrued since that date and an allowance for court costs, attorney's fees and other expenses.

William R. Brown Jr., the city's finance director, said the city had no position on whether it prefers the entertainment complex remain with Mr. McCourt, who has vowed to reopen it, or with Mr. Stoloff and GAA, whose plans for the complex are not clear.

Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke could not be reached, officials in his office said, because he was attending the inauguration of President Clinton.

The Fishmarket was among the least-successful ventures of the city's redevelopment of the Inner Harbor in the 1980s.

Conceived as a place that could support several bars and entertainment complexes at once, it did good business on weekends but failed to generate enough weekday business.

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