On Monday the U.S. Trustee for the Alliance of American Football sued former league owner and current Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon for a sum of $184 million. The suit alleges the NHL team owner intentionally tanked the startup rather than seek potential solutions for its financial woes.
Dundon in response sued the AAF’s founder Charlie Ebersol for $70 million. Dundon claims that Ebersol misled him in the financial state of the league upon bringing him into the league.
Dundon was not an original owner of the league and only joined midway through its inaugural and only season in 2019. He was brought in to stabilize the AAF’s shaky monetary foundation after it reportedly experienced difficulty in paying its players even after just the first week of games.
In a complaint filed by the trustee, Randolph Osherow, he claimed that Dundon’s reckless pull out ultimately doomed the league.
“Dundon and his associates dealt on their reputation and the league’s trust, which they induced, luring the league into ceding ownership and control, believing Dundon, as Dundon repeatedly told the league and the press, was committed to the League for ‘years to come.’ Dundon’s ‘years to come’ lasted only 46 days. Instead of the $250 million financing commitment Dundon had promised, Dundon and his entities used the control they garnered to force the league to liquidate after investing less than $70 million and shut down with just two weeks remaining in the regular season.”– U.S. Trustee Randolph Osherow
Several details emerged in the lawsuit including a claim from the trustee that NFL commissioner Roger Godell allegedly persuaded Dundon to buy the AAF. Perhaps most striking of all was a piece of information coming to light that the NFL was willing to engage in a partnership deal with the AAF in exchange for 15 percent of the warrants in the league.
Ebersol and the league had come to an agreement with former Minnesota Vikings partner Reggie Fowler to infuse $200 million into the league to help get it off the ground. That infamously fell through when Fowler was indicted on wire and bank fraud chargers in April, 2019. This forced Ebersol’s hand and caused him to turn to Dundon.
In a week dominated by news from other alternative football leagues born following the folding of the AAF, the aftermath of the league’s demise will continue be waged in court.
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