Local News

Ex-Duke players sued over redevelopment loans

Posted May 27, 2009 2:10 p.m. EDT
Updated May 28, 2009 1:10 p.m. EDT

— Petroleum giant Chevron and San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman have sued two former Duke University basketball players over an unpaid loans totaling $4.5 million.

Christian Laettner and Brian Davis, who played on Duke's national championship teams in the early 1990s, and Durham developer Tom Niemann obtained a $1.5 million loan from Chevron in April 2007 to redevelop and lease the Chesterfield Building in downtown Durham, according to a federal lawsuit.

The loan was supposed to be repaid by September 2008, Chevron alleges in the suit, but no payments have been made. The lawsuit also contends that Laettner, Davis and Niemann promised to forward to Chevron the tax credits they received from renovating a historic building, but that hasn't happened either.

The lawsuit wants a federal judge to rule that Laettner, Davis and Niemann are in default and to order them to repay the $1.5 million with interest.

In a separate suit, Merriman said a real estate partnership he controls loaned Laettner and Davis $3 million in August 2007, and the money wasn't repaid by a March 30 deadline. The suit also seeks to find the players in default and have them ordered to repay the loan, plus interest.

In a third suit filed in Wake County Superior Court, Raleigh-based D&F WVII Lender LLC alleges that it loaned Laettner and Davis $250,000 in October 2006, and the two men have repeatedly missed deadlines to repay portions of the loan. The lawsuit seeks immediate payment of the more than $236,000 still owed on the loan, with interest.

Niemann isn't named as a defendant in the latter two suits.

Laettner, Davis and Niemann have redeveloped several former tobacco warehouses and production buildings in downtown Durham into the West Village complex of offices and condominiums.