A lawsuit filed by Attorney Brian Kopp, managing partner of BKM’s Complex Litigation and Sports Law Practice Groups, dominated the news in the sports world yesterday.
As reported by ESPN, the Washington Post, and numerous other media outlets, in the suit filed against Bank of America (BoA) on behalf of Robert Rothman, a former minority partner in the Washington Commanders NFL franchise, Attorney Kopp alleges that BoA, along with former Commanders owner Daniel Snyder and NFL officials, who are not named as defendants in the lawsuit, “conspired” to force Rothman and his two fellow minority partners to sell their 40% stake to Snyder for $875 million in April 2021.
The sale price reflected a team valuation of less than $3 billion, the lawsuit says. In July 2023, Snyder sold the Commanders for $6.05 billion, which the lawsuit claims “was the culmination of [Bank of America’s] and Snyder’s conspiratorial conduct.”
By allegedly ignoring “Snyder’s improper and illegal dealings,” Bank of America executives “knew or reasonably anticipated that Snyder would have to sell the Franchise as a result of Snyder’s indebtedness,” Attorney Kopp wrote in the 45-page complaint filed Wednesday in Tampa federal court.
“For profit and prestige, BoA blind-eyed legal, ethical and moral obligations,” Atty. Kopp told ESPN Wednesday. “As a client of the BofA’s financial service division, Bob was entitled to honest financial advice free of conflict and bad motive.
ESPN notes that Attorney Kopp alleges in the suit that BoA ignored “financial red flags” raised by Snyder’s financial mismanagement of the team, including an increasing reliance on debt and failure to pay his partners their quarterly share of profits. The centerpiece of Rothman’s lawsuit is the bank’s December 2018 approval of the franchise’s $55 million credit line taken out by Snyder without his minority partners’ knowledge or required approval. The bank allowed Snyder to draw $38 million in March 2019 from the credit line “without verifying Snyder had obtained board approval,” the lawsuit states.
The bank approved the loan at the same time Snyder was allegedly “self-dealing” by paying himself millions of dollars through the Commanders, including charging $3.5 million to place a team logo on his private jet and $7 million in expenses for “yacht(s), residential properties, personal staff, automobiles, and other personal entertainment and lifetime expenses,” according to the lawsuit.
We invite you to follow the case on Facebook pages, our website, www.bkmlaws.com and on Twitter/X at https://twitter.com/BKMLaws
Click these links to access additional coverage of the suit:
Yahoo News NBC Sports Tampa Business Journal The Bleacher Report