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Real estate dispute by Flyers hockey coach against bank

Philadelphia Flyers hockey team coach Peter Laviolette has initiated real estate litigation against the Bank of America. He has asserted in court that the huge bank had caused him great losses, resulting in a minimum of $3 million of damages. He accuses the bank of fraud in cajoling him to mortgage various real estate properties he owned and to then invest the funds in high-risk real estate investment vehicles that subsequently collapsed.

The bank gave the coach a 12-page brochure that cast the investment in glowing terms, complete with detailed projections of purported returns backed up by future real estate and investment values. The coach claims that he was essentially promised that he could leverage his existing properties and thereby increase his net worth over a 30- year period from approximately $8.1 million to approaching $22.1 million.

The coach and his wife assert that they later discovered that this optimistic projection of a long-term almost $14 million profit was predicated on an unreasonable rate of return and real estate values for the offered investment vehicle's holdings were artificially inflated. Besides damages for fraud, the plaintiffs are seeking rescission of the loans that they encumbered their three homes with at the bank's urging. Whether these claims are true must now be sorted out by a court proceeding in which the bank will also have an opportunity to tell its side of the story.

When real estate or investment vehicles involving real estate are offered to individual investors, those promoting the investment have an obligation to fully disclose known facts about the properties and to not fraudulently promise returns that cannot be achieved. In similar cases, investors who believe that they have been defrauded can resort to the courts to try to regain lost funds and place themselves back in the financial position that they would have been in without making the offered investment. Such lawsuits can play a beneficial role both in obtaining compensation for losses and in deterring the misrepresentation of investment opportunities.

Source: Philly.com, "Flyers coach suing Bank of America" Sam Carchidi, Oct. 06, 2013

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