According to a post on Instagram by director and documentary producer Billy Corben, “F— SBF” and “Where is my money Sam” were illuminated in Miami on the side of the FTX Arena, home of the NBA’s Miami Heat, soon after midnight on January 1, 2023.
At FTX Arena in Miami, shortly after midnight on NYE, the words…were projected on the side of the building #BecauseMiami,
Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of the cryptocurrency businesses FTX and Alameda Research, is known by the abbreviation “SBF.” These businesses failed this fall due to liquidity problems and, ultimately, fraud claims.
After being detained on December 12 in the Bahamas and being extradited to the United States, Bankman-Fried is now being accused with money laundering and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
He pled not guilty in Manhattan court on Tuesday.
The arena in Miami, which was known as the American Airlines Arena from 1999 to 2021 and, as of March 2021, FTX Arena, still appears to be associated with the firm.
According to NPR, FTX was the cryptocurrency “golden child” at the time of the transaction and quickly landed agreements with organizations including Major League Baseball and the Washington Wizards.
Miami-Dade County issued a statement alongside the Miami Heat indicating it will be seeking to “terminate” its relationship with FTX and find “a new naming rights partner for the arena” after FTX filed for bankruptcy. According to the local news source WPLG, individuals were seen removing the company’s emblem off the stadium.
John J. Ray III, the new CEO of FTX and the person guiding the group of firms through bankruptcy, referred to the company’s conduct as “old-fashioned embezzlement.”
Gary Wang, a co-founder of FTX, and Caroline Ellison, a former CEO of Alameda, both entered guilty pleas to fraud-related charges.
The County also pursued more customary legal remedies. On November 22, it submitted a motion to void the agreement with FTX, claiming that it had to be able to find an other sponsor.
The move states that there are “material defaults” that force the county to ask the court for permission to terminate the naming rights agreement immediately.
The topic was apparently discussed at a hearing in the middle of December. A request for comment regarding an update on the matter did not immediately elicit a response from the County.
FTX agreed to pay $135 million for the naming rights to the stadium. The County was anticipated to get around $90 million from FTX after the Heat’s $40 million share and a $5.2 million payment to Superlative Group, which brokered the agreement, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Over $19 million has already been paid by the corporation. According to the publication, which also cited public records, the money that was promised for measures to reduce gun violence was utilized for things like purchasing police equipment and funding for sports teams and summer camps for kids.
The $5.5 million payment from FTX that was due on January 1 is still outstanding.
Who was in charge of the projection and how long it lasted are both unknown. Requests for comments were not immediately answered by the arena.
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