|Devils Being Sued By French Investment
Firm Over Inadvertant Money Transfer
Paris-based investment banking firm Societe Generale (SG) is "suing the Devils for more than $500,000 after it mistakenly transferred $125,635.13 to the NHL club" in September '06, according to court documents filed in U.S. District Court cited by Rick Westhead of the TORONTO STAR. The bank in the court documents said that since the transfer, Devils execs have "repeatedly refused to return the money 'motivated, in whole or in part, by spite and ill will.'" SG is suing the team for compensatory damages of $125,635.13 and punitive damages of "at least three times that much." The bank said the wire transfer to the Devils "was a mistake." SG said it in August '07 "went so far" as to write Devils Owner Jeff Vanderbeek, but "received no reply" (TORONTO STAR, 3/27).
Sources said that there have been strained ties between the parties since SG loaned the Devils around $70M in '04. Vanderbeek said that the team was busy last year opening a new arena and he was not sure the club actually owed the money. Vanderbeek: “Forgive me if it takes some time. We don’t just take their word with the history of controls they have had.” Meanwhile, sources said that CIT Group, which lent the team $250M, also has bickered with the Devils the last few months over legal fees. CIT declined to comment, and Vanderbeek said he knew nothing about this dispute (Daniel Kaplan, SportsBusiness Journal