PHILADELPHIA-A group of seven state legislators, two senators and five representatives each representing districts near the SugarHouse Casino site, has filed a lawsuit with the Pennsylvania Supreme Court seeking to halt construction. The defendant is the City, and the complaint alleges that the Commerce Department erred in granting HSP Gaming, the casino’s developer, riparian rights. The developer is not named as a defendant in the suit.

A large portion of the 22-acre casino site along the Delaware River is on submerged land. According to published reports, the Commerce Department negotiated a 99-year lease at $282,270 a year with HSP for that portion of the site. In the court complaint, the lawmakers contend that the commonwealth owns submerged land on navigable waterways, and only the state legislature has the authority to lease it or sell it.

This move follows within weeks, a ruling by the same court, which granted HSP’s request that the City and related entities move forward with the permits and documents necessary to allow construction to begin, as reported. Calls to Rep. William Keller, who led the effort; a representative of HSP Gaming, and Welsh & Recker, the law firm representing the lawmakers, were not returned by deadline.

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