-By Warner Todd Huston
It is well noted that we live in an overly litigious society. But one small company in Las Vegas isn't just knuckling under the thumb of a big corporation and the hammer-fist of another big lawsuit.
Instead, the small business is taking the revolutionary view that big business should treat its customers as human beings. This small firm is speaking out and urging face-to-face discussions instead of a constant deluge of lawsuits.
Galaxy Gaming of Las Vegas – the world's second largest developer, manufacturer and distributor of casino table games and enhanced casino systems – had been dutifully paying on its mortgage on its offices but out of the Nevada desert sky, as far as they were concerned, the small firm suddenly learned it was being dragged into court with its mortgage holder, Bank of America, demanding payment in full of its loans.
Robert Saucier, CEO of Galaxy Gaming, has decided to try a different tact in this discussion. Instead of just slinging charge and counter charge in court, Saucier published an open letter in a newspaper to ask Bank of America to just deal with him face-to-face, like a human being.
In the open letter published in the Charlotte Observer -- where Bank of America is headquartered -- Saucier urged his company’s former "financial partner" to settle their differences.
Saucier says, “We took this step because what Bank of America is doing through its lawsuits against our company is truly an unfortunate, rash and reckless decision that won't do anything to resolve our differences and let both sides get back to growing their businesses.”
Saucier points out that his firm never missed a single loan payment so the notice of the lawsuit was a major surprise to him. Galaxy Gaming owes Bank of America $1.1 million, and has monthly payments of $9,159 and a balloon payment of $1 million in 2017.
So, why is Bank of America suing? The October lawsuit filed in Clark County District Court charges that in 2007 Galaxy Games made false statements about its ownership when it took out the business loan. Even though no payments were ever missed, the bank says it was the victim of allegedly fraudulent transfer of assets from a limited liability company to Galaxy Gaming.
Galaxy said in its letter, "While, we were troubled by the chaotic nature of B of A's affairs and the reality that the building was suddenly underwater, we sustained our commitment to you and faithfully made each and every payment as agreed."
Saucier said his company's loyalty "was not returned."
"Imagine our shock and disbelief when we discovered that your bank filed a lawsuit against our company, pertaining to a 'performing' loan," Saucier wrote. "This action was without any justification and is damaging to our good name."
The open letter also points out that Bank of America itself is being sued by the U. S. Department of Justice for more than $1 billion and accused of serious crimes by federal prosecutors. "Perhaps this is why B of A has set aside as much as $42 billion in company assets strictly for litigation purposes," the letter says.
"We do not have that luxury. Indeed, our total revenues are less than your personal compensation package," Saucier says.
Saucier feels that Bank of America should just take a step back from its immediate resort to a lawsuit and deal with his company fairly. Doing so, he offers, would show Bank of America that there are solutions that don't have to go through a phalanx of lawyers and costly court actions.
"Menacing lawsuits can only contribute to suppressing potential growth, destroying good jobs and stifling the entrepreneurial spirit that B of A is supposed to support," said Saucier. "Litigation – whether against us or against B of A – should always be a last resort and never a first option."
Saucier ended his letter hoping that Bank of America would choose to remember and reassert one of the company’s own published Core Values: “We are aware that our decisions and actions affect people’s lives every day."