Atlanta Hawks Basketball and Entertainment (AHBE) the former owners of the Hawks has sued the New Hampshire Insurance Company for breaching a contract involving former manager Danny Ferry. AHBE is owned by various partners and Bruce Levenson has a controlling stake in the company. This lawsuit does not include the current ownership of the Hawks led by Tony Ressler. AHBE filed the suit in Sept. 16, 2016 at the Superior Court in Fulton County.
The suit accuses New Hampshire Insurance Company, also known as AIG, of insurance bad faith and breach of contract. AHBE claims that it obtained an insurance policy that covered losses related to Workplace Torts and Wrongful Termination. In April 2, 2015, AHBE notified AIG that claims made by Ferry were covered by the policy. In June 22, 2015, Mr. Ferry and AHBE reached a buyout agreement that terminated an $18 million contract signed in 2012. Two days after terminating Mr. Ferry’s contract the Hawks were sold to a group led by Mr. Ressler. The current ownership of the Hawks have acknowledged their awareness of the suit and have said they will not comment on the suit as the principal parties do not have any ties to the Hawks.
The suit states that AIG has refused to recognize that the policy was triggered and that a claim was made. The suit further alleges that AIG has refused to pay the covered loss in bad faith and without significant justification. The suit also seeks attorney fees and a 50 percent penalty. AIG has not commented on the suit.
According to ESPN, Bruce Levenson and his group of investors sold the Hawks to Ressler’s group for $850 million. Ressler’s group includes cofounder of Marquis Jet Jesse Itzler and former NBA player Grant Hill. AHBE has obtained a decent return on the $250 million purchase that they made in 2004. Mr. Levenson is an experienced investor who involved in numerous philanthropic endeavors such as the I Have a Dream Foundation based in Washington. Read more of his philanthropic works on PR Newswire.