Urban Echo Energy, an energy company owned by former Duke basketball player Brian Davis, sued Bank of America on Friday for $500 billion in connection with the sale of the Washington Commanders.
The company accuses the financial institution of preventing its $7.1 billion offer for the team from being credibly considered by Daniel and Tonya Snyder, who together own and are selling the Commanders. The complaint also demands compensatory and punitive damages that, according to the court docket, supposedly bring the total damages to $500 billion.
The complaint was filed in Maryland’s federal district court and has been assigned to U.S. Magistrate Judge Ajmel Ahsen Quereshi.
Even if it advances, Urban’s case is unlikely to impede the Commanders’ sale to Josh Harris; Harris and the Snyders recently reached an agreement in principle on the team’s transaction. The remedies sought by Urban would not compel any change in the sale and would not necessitate the Snyders, Harris or the NFL to take any action.
As described in the six-page complaint, Urban Echo in January had bank drafts issued for $5.1 billion made payable to BofA, where it held an account. Although Urban Echo says it complied with relevant banking procedures, BofA allegedly refused to deposit the drafts in Urban’s accounts and then told Urban Echo it was terminating those accounts. In March, Urban Echo offered to purchase the Commanders for $7.1 billion, more than a billion dollars more than any known offer. But in May Snyder accepted a bid led by Harris valued at around $6 billion.
Snyder had retained BofA in November to explore selling the team and overseeing that process.
Urban alleges that BofA “never made the Snyders aware of the existence of the bank drafts.” Had the Snyders known about “the $5.1 billion being held in limbo by BofA” Urban insists they would have accepted Urban’s offer instead of the Harris offer.
The complaint brings two claims: conversion (illegally taking someone’s personal property with the intent to deprive) and replevin (a demand for property to be returned). Urban argues that BofA not only refused to credit the bank drafts but also won’t return them. Urban demands BofA either credit the bank drafts, so the $7.1 billion offer can be “properly evaluated” by the Snyders, or return the drafts.
In the weeks ahead, BofA will answer the complaint, deny wrongdoing, refute Urban’s factual and legal assertions and motion for the lawsuit’s dismissal.
Although Urban says it complied with relevant procedures, BofA might say otherwise. BofA might also dispute that it concealed any information from the Snyders who, like other NFL owners, evaluate offers not only for their total price but also how much of the money reflects loans or other contingencies.
Bidders and their financial and legal portfolios are also vetted by the team’s owner and, if a bid advances, by the NFL’s finance committee and all other teams’ principal owners. Davis has recently faced litigation over allegedly unpaid loans.