Former Atlanta Hawks Owner Files Lawsuit Over Unpaid Insurance

In early 2015, Atlanta Hawks Basketball and Entertainment LLC and the general manager of the team, Danny Ferry, agreed to part company. Ferry was midway through a six year contract for $18 million. The contract was settled for an undisclosed sum.

Under the direction of controlling partner Bruce Levenson, AHBE had purchased insurance to cover losses resulting from employee policy actions such as contract buyouts. The insurer was New Hampshire Insurance Company, also called AIG. Subsequently, AHBE sold the Atlanta Hawks NBA franchise to an ownership group headed by Tony Roessler. Levenson and AHBE filed a claim for the cost of the Ferry buyout following these events. AIG has refused to acknowledge the claim. AHBE filed a lawsuit against AIG in September, 2016 The suit, which does not involve the new owners, seeks damages for bad faith insurance and breach of contract.

Bruce Levenson originally led a group of investors in the purchase of the Atlanta Hawks in 2004. He likely did not profit as much off the sale as he expected. According to Forbes, this is because the sale price was $730 million, lower than projections by Goldman Sachs that the team might be worth $1 billion. Still, Levenson is believed to have made a large profit, regardless of how this lawsuit is resolved.

Levenson has a long record of business success. In 1977 he co-founded United Communications Group. Initially, he worked out of his apartment, publishing a single newsletter called “Oil Express.” UCG has grown into one of the largest privately owned business communications firms in the world. The firm specializes in business communications and data analysis. Levenson is also known for his philanthropic activities. These include support for the U.S. Holocaust Museum and the I Have A Dream Foundation.