Daily Briefing


July 08, 2009

3 Md. companies pay fines over lead paint in toys

Nine importers, manufacturers and retailers of children's products, including three based in Baltimore County, will pay more than $500,000 in civil penalties for violations of the federal lead paint ban, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The commission has provisionally accepted the settlement of findings that these companies knowingly made or sold toys that contained high levels of lead in 2007 or 2008. Though they deny violating the law, Cardinal Distributing Co. Inc. of Rosedale must pay $100,000. A&A Global Industries Inc. of Cockeysville and Raymond Geddes & Co of Overlea must pay $40,000 each. A 1978 law prohibits paints or surface coatings on children's toys and products from having more than 0.06 percent lead by weight. The items made, sold or distributed by these companies, including pens, toys, water bottles and sunglasses, contained lead paint of up to nearly 60 percent.

- Liz F. Kay

Oceanaire restaurant chain files for bankruptcy

MINNEAPOLIS - The high-end seafood restaurant chain Oceanaire Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed four of its 16 restaurants, but not the one in downtown Baltimore. Chief financial officer Glenn Massey says its flagship Minneapolis restaurant will remain open and remains profitable. Oceanaire closed restaurants in Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Seattle and Charlotte, N.C. The company said in its bankruptcy filing that it owes between $10 million and $50 million to at least 50 creditors. It estimates its assets at $1 million to $10 million.

- Associated Press

Ambassador Theater to be auctioned Thursday

Two weeks before Baltimore's Senator Theatre goes on the auction block, a "sister theater" is being offered for sale the same way. The Ambassador Theater, an Art Deco-style building at 4604 Liberty Heights Ave. in West Baltimore, will be offered in a sale on the premises at noon Thursday by Auction Brokers of Baltimore. The Ambassador was built in 1935 by the Durkee organization and originally had 925 seats. One of the city's first neighborhood theaters to show first-run films, the Ambassador ceased operating as a movie theater in 1968, later became a school of cosmetology and a church, and is now vacant.

-Edward Gunts

Rosecroft owner sues over simulcast agreements

GREENBELT - The bankrupt owner of Rosecroft Raceway is suing the Maryland Jockey Club, the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association and 15 other defendants for $20 million. The suit filed Monday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court claims that the defendants are interfering with Rosecroft's simulcast agreements with out-of-state tracks. Rosecroft was a harness racing track before it stopped live racing last year. Now, simulcast betting is the only form of gambling revenue for the Fort Washington track. Rosecroft struck a deal with the defendants in 2006 to simulcast races from tracks owned by Louisville, Ky.-based Churchill Downs Inc. and Ontario-based Magna Entertainment Corp. But the racing commission voted this spring to shut off Rosecroft's simulcast signals because Cloverleaf refused to pay a $5.9 million annual rights fee to the Maryland Jockey Club.

- Associated Press

Magna bankruptcy hearing postponed until August

WILMINGTON, Del. - A bankruptcy judge agreed Tuesday to postpone a hearing on a hedge fund's request for the appointment of an examiner in horse track owner Magna Entertainment's Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. At the request of attorneys, a hearing originally scheduled for Tuesday at the request by Greenlight Capital Offshore Partners was postponed until Aug. 18. Greenlight has asked for the appointment of an examiner or Chapter 11 trustee to investigate ties between Magna and its parent company, known as MID, which has played a dual role as both a potential bidder for Magna assets and one of its primary lenders. Greenlight, an unsecured creditor of Magna as well as a large shareholder in MID, is concerned about the fairness of any asset sale. Ontario-based Magna's holdings include Pimlico Race Course.

Associated Press

AirTran adds New Orleans, Indianapolis flights at BWI

AirTran Airways will announce this morning that it will begin offering service from Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to Indianapolis and New Orleans beginning Oct. 6. The airlines will offer six nonstop daily flights between the cities. It will bring the total number of AirTran flights from BWI to 52 to 21 cities.

- Andrea K. Walker

Internet radio webcasters reach deal over royalties

The music won't stop for Internet radio after a group of webcasters struck an agreement with Sound Exchange, the organization that collects royalties for musicians and record companies, over payments for playing music online. The settlement ends a 2 1/2 -year-old dispute that had threatened to silence the nascent Internet radio business. Tuesday's settlement allows webcasters to avoid per-song royalty payments set in 2007.

- Tribune Newspapers

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