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Alex and Ani Sues Bank of America for $1.1B

Jul 29, 2019 9:18 AM   By Rapaport News
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RAPAPORT... Alex and Ani has filed a $1.1 billion lawsuit against Bank of America, claiming its gender bias and greed have driven the jewelry company toward bankruptcy.

Last year, the bank declared the company had defaulted on its revolving loan, even though it was meeting all the terms of its line-of-credit agreement, Alex and Ani alleged in the suit, filed in a New York district court July 25. Bank of America did so because the company is led by a trio of strong women, according to the filing.

The jeweler, which once had a close relationship with Bank of America and featured in an advertisement for the company, said the change came in 2018, shortly after a female chief financial officer took over at Alex and Ani.

“From January 2016 through December 2017, Bank of America’s relationship with Alex and Ani was comfortable,” the lawsuit stated. “Under the helmsmanship of [the] former CFO, Bank of America raided the Alex and Ani corporate kitty, harvesting millions of dollars from the company through bloated fees, nonsensical consulting arrangements and gold-plated reimbursements.”

That changed when the new, female finance officer took over, Alex and Ani maintained. “Despite Bank of America’s woke advertising, the company is decidedly retrograde in its views toward women, toward people of color and toward other protected groups,” the suit said.

Bank of America had already caused Alex and Ani to lose several hundreds of millions of dollars through its actions, the retailer claimed, calling the bank’s conduct toward the company “vindictive,” “obstinate” and “petty.”

The jewelry retailer also cited Bank of America’s history of gender bias, saying it had a “checkered past,” and its actions had taken a toll on the company financially.

“Make no mistake, Bank of America had driven Alex and Ani to the precipice,” the lawsuit said. “The endgame is clear: Bank of America wants the women out of power at Alex and Ani.”

Bank of America said the default call on the loan had nothing to do with gender bias. The jewelry retailer had been facing serious financial challenges for nearly two years, during which time the bank had worked closely with the company, Bill Halldin, a spokesperson for the lender, told Rapaport News Monday.

Additionally, “Bank of America was one of seven banks that were part of a credit facility, and no lender makes decisions unilaterally in such a group-lending situation,” Halldin added. “Understanding that, there is no logic to this lawsuit, and no basis for any of these allegations...all of which makes the idea of a lawsuit against one bank quite odd.”

Image: A Bank of America location in New York. (Shutterstock)
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Tags: alex and ani, Bank of America, lawsuit, New York distric court, Rapaport News
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