Bloomberry Resorts Corporation, owner and operator of Manila’s Solaire Resort & Casino, said Wednesday that it will “vigorously oppose” a US$296.6 million lawsuit brought against the company and its founder by a former business associate.
Global Gaming Asset Management (GGAM) Philippines LLC filed the suit with the US District Court in the Southern District of New York on Monday against two Bloomberry subsidiaries, Bloomberry Resorts & Hotels Inc and Sureste Properties Inc, seeking enforcement of an arbitral award of US$296.6 million by the Singapore High Court.
The original finding, referred to as the Partial Award of the Arbitration Tribunal, related to the termination of the Management Services Agreement, signed in 2011, just six months after the March 2013 opening of Solaire.
Under the terms of the Agreement, GGAM – the local unit of William Weidner’s Las Vegas-based casino investment firm – was paid US$175,000 per month for the provision of technical services related to Solaire’s design, planning, layout and construction and of services around employee recruitment.
Bloomberry terminated the relationship in 2013 alleging GGAM Philippines had failed to deliver on the terms of the agreement and more specifically a promise to bring high-rollers to the property. It also cited concerns over the casino’s design and layout.
While the Singapore High Court last year denied an appeal against the 2016 ruling, Bloomberry has stated on multiple occasions that the Partial Award is not self-executing and “must be enforced through the court of the jurisdiction where it is to be enforced,” referring to the Philippines. It is with this in mind that GGAM is seeking enforcement of the award through the US courts instead.
However, in a Wednesday filing, Bloomberry said enforcement of the award is currently on appeal in the Singapore Court of Appeals. It also pointed to a decision by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Makati City in the Philippines which issued a writ of attachment and writ of preliminary injunction against GGAM selling shares it holds in Bloomberry while arbitration is pending.
“GGAM’s action to lift the attachment and injunction issued by the RTC is even now pending in the Philippine Supreme Court,” Bloomberry said, adding that GGAM had already “previously dragged Mr Razon in a suit in Hong Kong” aimed at compelling the release of the shares.
On the new lawsuit in New York, Bloomberry said, “Mr Razon (and the companies associated with him) will vigorously oppose this shameless GGAM forum shopping and attempt to enforce an arbitral award against those who are not a party to the arbitration.”
GGAM holds 921,184,056 shares in Bloomberry valued at around US$83 million.