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Puerto Rican boxer Trinidad, father, sue Popular Inc. for $175M

Puerto Rican boxer Félix “Tito” Trinidad-García and his father, Juan Félix Trinidad-Rodríguez, are suing Popular Inc. — parent company of Banco Popular de Puerto Rico — for no less than $175 million in damages.

In the lawsuit filed in the US District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, the Trinidads are “seeking fair and adequate monetary compensation for the losses they sustained as a result of the Popular Entities’ anticompetitive, unfair, and predatory practices, including tying arrangements prohibited by the Bank Holding Company Act (“BHCA”).”

The lawsuit also names Popular Inc. subsidiaries Popular Securities, LLC (PSL) and Popular One.

The fight between the former professional boxer, his father — who was his trainer — and the financial institution dates to November 2010, when the financial institution and financial advisor José Arturo Ramos, of Wachovia Securities Inc., “conspired with each other and aided and abetted one another to devise and, in fact, formulated, a tying arrangement scheme, whereby BPPR would extend secured credit lines to the Trinidads and the other clients of Ramos at Wachovia, on the condition that they transfer their portfolios to PSL to be used as pledged collateral, obtain additional investment services and products from PSL, and not form any of its competitors.”

The case filed by Quetglas Law Offices, P.S.C., establishes that the defendants worked together to offer and provide high-net-worth clients like the Trinidads integrated banking and financial planning.

What the plaintiffs claim is that in November 2010, Popular and its entities locked them into an exclusivity agreement with Popular Securities, so they were unable to move their accounts to other brokerage houses.

The case also establishes that the father and son have been unable to withdraw from their money market accounts, due to a shortfall in collateral at their account in Banco Popular.

Trinidad-García also stopped receiving monthly payments as per an order from the Puerto Rico Superior Court issued in May 2014.

“In those two separate time periods, BPPR instituted groundless appellate proceeding and filed multiple frivolous briefs therein, to delay the compliance with the [Court’s] payment orders due to the collateral deficiency,” according to the 75-page lawsuit.

In June and November 2019, BPPR filed separate lawsuits against Trinidad-García, to execute his mortgage loan and seize all his assets, respectively. In February 2021, BPPR got a court order banning the boxer from engaging in monetary transactions of more than $100,000 without prior court approval.

In the lawsuit, Trinidad’s attorneys establish that BPPR has acted in bad faith in several instances, and still has total control over the management of Trinidad-García’s investment accounts. The bank has also prevented the Trinidads from moving their assets at Popular Securities to any other investment firm.

“By reason thereof, the Trinidads have sustained, and continue to sustain, a substantial loss in value of their assets invested at [Popular Securities], as well as present and future injury to the value of their commercial public image and goodwill,” the lawsuit states.

They have also “sustained additional monetary losses, as well as mental anguish and emotional distress that are actionable under the PR statutory laws.”

The lawsuit states that Trinidad-García is seeking nearly $149 million and his father, Trinidad-Rodríguez, is seeking nearly $26 million, plus attorney fees. They are asking for a trial by jury.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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