At one point during the short-lived spring football experiment that was the Alliance of American Football, billionaire and Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon bought the operation. Not long after that, he pulled the plug on it.
Via Daniel Kaplan of TheAthletic.com, the trustee overseeing the AAF’s bankruptcy has sued Dundon for at least $184 million. Dundon allegedly took the league into bankruptcy when alternatives to ending the business existed.
In turn, Dundon has sued AAF founder Charlie Ebersol for $70 million. That’s the amount of Dundon’s cash investment in 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,’” the lawsuit against Dundon contends. “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.”
The full story of the AAF has never been told. It appears that the league lacked the proper funding to be a viable operation, and that it essentially tried to will that funding into existence.
Along the way, debts were incurred that will likely never be fully paid. If the new lawsuit manages to secure a nine-figure payment from Dundon, some of the people who lost money in reliance on the belief that the AAF actually had money will perhaps get some more of their money back.