Non-existent, not used project reference causes error in WinForms VS designer

Today I was struck by another „self-explanatory” 😛 Visual Studio exception:

The path is not of a legal form.
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at System.IO.Path.NormalizePathFast(String path, Boolean fullCheck)
at System.IO.Path.GetFullPathInternal(String path)
at System.Reflection.AssemblyName.GetAssemblyName(String assemblyFile)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.Design.VSTypeResolutionService.AddProjectDependencies(Project project)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.Design.VSTypeResolutionService.AssemblyEntry.get_Assembly()
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.Design.VSTypeResolutionService.AssemblyEntry.Search(String fullName, String typeName, Boolean ignoreTypeCase, Assembly& assembly, tring description)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.Design.VSTypeResolutionService.SearchProjectEntries(AssemblyName assemblyName, String typeName, Boolean ignoreTypeCase, Assembly& assembly)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.Design.VSTypeResolutionService.SearchEntries(AssemblyName assemblyName, String typeName, Boolean ignoreCase, Assembly& assembly, ReferenceType refType)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.Design.VSTypeResolutionService.GetType(String typeName, Boolean throwOnError, Boolean ignoreCase, ReferenceType refType)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.Design.Serialization.CodeDom.AggregateTypeResolutionService.GetType(String name, Boolean throwOnError, Boolean ignoreCase)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.Design.Serialization.CodeDom.AggregateTypeResolutionService.GetType(String name)
at System.ComponentModel.Design.DesignerHost.System.ComponentModel.Design.IDesignerHost.GetType(String typeName)
at System.ComponentModel.Design.Serialization.CodeDomDesignerLoader.EnsureDocument(IDesignerSerializationManager manager)
at System.ComponentModel.Design.Serialization.CodeDomDesignerLoader.PerformLoad(IDesignerSerializationManager manager)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.Design.Serialization.CodeDom.VSCodeDomDesignerLoader.PerformLoad(IDesignerSerializationManager serializationManager)
at Microsoft.VisualStudio.Design.Serialization.CodeDom.VSCodeDomDesignerLoader.DeferredLoadHandler.Microsoft.VisualStudio.TextManager.Interop.IVsTextBufferDataEvents.OnLoadCompleted(Int32 fReload)

My project compiles, application works, no other errors except this exception ever time I wanted to open a Designer for any UserControl o Form. As it turned out I had a reference to a missing file, a reference which was no longer used thus OK compilation.

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