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URBANA — A federal judge has dismissed a local developer from a lawsuit between the city of Bloomington and a management group vying to run the U.S. Cellular Coliseum.

Bloomington Partners is suing the city in U.S. District Court in Urbana after the City Council rescinded its contract. Included in the lawsuit is Larry Hundman and Bloomington-Normal Arena Management, a group with whom the city once contracted to run the arena after it opened.

Judge David Bernthal ruled Hundman and Bloomington-Normal Arena Management's motion to dismiss should be granted because no contract existed between the city and Bloomington Partners.

In a separate ruling, however, Bernthal denied the city's motion to dismiss City Manager Tom Hamilton from the lawsuit.

City attorney Todd Greenburg called the ruling to dismiss Hundman and his group "a bright spot" because the judge acknowledges the contract between the city and Bloomington Partners did not exist.

The City Council approved the contract with Bloomington Partners in April 2004. By November 2004, Bloomington Partners had not signed the contract and did not have an internal operating agreement between the five members. The council then rescinded the contract with Bloomington Partners and approved a separate contract with Hundman and his group to operate the facility after it opened.

Two former members of Bloomington Partners, Mike Nelson and John Butler, had a separate contract with the city to operate the Coliseum before it opened with an option to operate it after it opens in March 2006.

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