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DETROIT — In this city where three casinos stand as temples of chance and most lottery tickets end up as litter, Frank Soares faced the longest of odds and beat the biggest house in town — General Motors Corp.

Now the automaker is fighting to prevent Soares and his associates from taking home their court-ordered fortune.

On January 5, Soares and his nascent Internet startup company,, were awarded $11.1 million by an arbitrator, former Michigan Court of Appeals Judge Roman Gribbs, in a suit filed in October 2001 against GM for breach of contract.

Gribbs, a former Detroit mayor, ruled the automaker did not live up to its contract with the now-defunct company to help it commercialize a Web-based component library, and that the company acted in “bad faith.” The award includes $9 million in projected lost profits.

GM is appealing the decision and plans to file a motion today to have the award tossed out or reduced.

“We are disappointed with the deal,” GM said in a written statement. “We believe it is contrary to established Michigan law to award $9 million in lost profit damages to an Internet startup company that never had any customers or revenue.”

GM contends the company was going to fail anyway, after burning through a mountain of venture capital.

“Whatever the odds were, I was determined to get my day in court,” Soares, who was too ill to be interviewed, said in written answers to questions from The Detroit News faxed by his attorneys.

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