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BALTIMORE-The Hotel Employees and Restaurants Employeesunion has taken another step in fighting a proposedluxury hotel and condominium project at the Inner Harborhere by creating a Web site attacking the project. HEREhas launched www.lisquarewatch.org, a site that tracksnews and information about LI Square Corp., a New York-based development partnership that has plans to build a225-room hotel under the Ritz Carlton brand and 97luxury condominiums.

The Web site is only the most recent salvo against thedevelopment project. Just over one month ago, HERE putout a research report attacking the development. In thatreport, the union contended that LI Square has not beenwilling to talk with HERE about a labor peace agreement,which in part would allow the union to attempt toorganize workers on the project. The union also attackedthe labor track record of Atlanta-based Ritz Carlton andits parent company, Marriott International of Bethesda,MD.

More recently, HERE has focused its attacks on the newsof financial trouble with the project. Published reportssaid that after months of publicly saying it was on theverge of a deal, the developer of the $156-million Ritz Carlton hotel and condominium project proposed forBaltimore’s Inner Harbor has hired a new broker tosearch through a sinking economy for lenders for theproject.

The new broker, Las Vegas-based Asset ManagementFinancial Corp., said yesterday that the project, whichwas proposed in February 1999, is not in trouble. AssetManagement replaced Howard D. Zukerman, who entered aguilty plea to income tax violations in April and willbegin serving a one-year sentence in federal prison thismonth. Zukerman had been working to secure financingfrom an Atlanta company, Choice Capital Corp., but thatcompany is no longer interested in the project. A groupof experts recently met in Washington and said that itwould be very difficult to get financing for a hotelproject right now, in the aftermath of the September 11terrorist attacks. “The ability to finance new projectsis close to zero in the lodging industry,” one expertsaid at a real estate symposium on Capitol Hill lastweek.

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