Per Meg Linehan of Excelle Sports, the NWHL is facing the possibility of a lawsuit from one of its founding investors, should the league not return his $200,000 or receive a grant of extension by 5:00 PM EST, Friday, April 22.
From the article:
The NWHL and Rylan have until April 22, 2016 at 5 PM Eastern to either pay Moran’s requested amount or receive a written grant of extension. If neither happens, Moran is expected to file a lawsuit against both the NWHL and Rylan personally by the following Monday for the entirety of his investment, which the letter states to be over $200,000.
The letter from Moran’s attorney states the funds he provided to the league and Rylan were a substantial part of the league’s founding, and were used for advertising, logos, and other expenses such as website hosting.
Moran’s involvement with the league appears to have been during the founding and opening few weeks. He also was directly involved in marketing the league, having sent emails to photographers asking about photo rights after the first game was played. His name was also listed as “Chief Marketing Officer” in an email from Dani Rylan to U.S. National Team players, according to a letter provided to Excelle Sports.
As the NWHL has until close of business on April 22 to request an extension in order to repay Moran’s money, it is unlikely the league will fold over the next few days. It gives the NWHL time to find new investors to replace Moran. The league when contacted by Excelle Sports, did not comment on the potential lawsuit but a source did inform the outlet that Rylan had filed a restraining order against both Moran and an unnamed former employee. Excelle was not able to confirm the existence of any such lawsuit.
A league employee, PR worker Jake Duhaime, appeared to insinuate that these restraining orders Rylan may have filed were due to sexual harassment when he tweeted about the article to a reporter who was unaffiliated with the piece.
Today’s Slapshot reached out to the league regarding the veracity of Duhaime’s insinuations and his position with the league. We received the following in response:
“[Duhaime] is not tweeting as a representative of the league, we consider personal social media an inappropriate way to deal with professional matters. All his thoughts are his own.”
Moreover, the article also alleges that Rylan, who has dealt with league employees inappropriately in the past, has threatened players and mismanaged money during her time as NWHL Commissioner.
One player who played in the first season of the league said that Rylan isn’t qualified to serve as commissioner. The player said Rylan has misappropriated league funds, and threatened and lied to players. Rylan declined to respond to the player’s comments.
The player also expressed concern about the mystery investors for the league, and said the incident between the league and Bauer Hockey concerning equipment and lack of payment had been a huge embarrassment for the league. Added the player, “I’m pretty sure Dani could go to jail for some of the things she’s done this year.”
UPDATE: The NWHL responded to requests for comment on the possible lawsuit with the following statement:
“Mike Moran was a volunteer in the early stages of the NWHL’s existence and at no point was a formal investor. While we and our legal team are not aware of any current legal action against us, any future action will be handled by our lawyers and not through the media.”