NFL Flagged By Court In Matter Of Hedge Fund Fraud

Apr 2 2007 | 9:58am ET

The National Football League won’t kick off its 2007 season until September, but it still has to play ball in court.

A federal judge in Atlanta refused to dismiss a lawsuit against the NFL and NFL Players Association stemming from International Management Association hedge fund fraud, which allegedly lost several high-profile former and current players a total of $20 million.

Those players, including Steve Atwater and Carlos Emmons, say that the NFLPA put Wright’s firm on a list of approved investments, in spite of liens against him. The union and the league had argued, under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, that the players are responsible for their own finances. Barring that, the adversaries-turned-codefendants claimed that the agreement requires the dispute to go to arbitration.

But Judge Julie Carnes in Atlanta said she would allow the case to proceed to trial.

She wrote, “Because the court cannot determine at this time whether the union agreed to expand the rights and duties it owed to plaintiffs under the collective bargaining agreement, the court will not dismiss plaintiff’s allegations at this stage.”

Wright has already been slapped with $20 million in disgorgements and civil penalties and is currently awaiting trial for fraud. He allegedly defrauded investors out of $185 million.

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