NEW YORK – Jewelry maker Alex and Ani LLC demanded $1.1 billion in damages from Bank of America Corp. in a lawsuit alleging lending discrimination against a women-led company that was once featured in advertisements promoting the bank’s commitment to diversity. The Rhode Island-based jewelry maker, which markets bangles and charms at its own stores and some high-end U.S. retailers such as Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom, said it was granted a revolving line of credit by Bank of America to fund operations in 2016. But in December 2018, the bank declared the company in default without warning, setting off a chain of events that cost Alex and Ani more than $1 billion in expenses, lost revenue and reduced market value, according to the lawsuit. “Bank of America breached the agreement, fraudulently alleging a default that didn’t exist,” the jeweler said in the court filing. “And for more than six months now, Bank of America has been both driving Alex and Ani towards bankruptcy and milking it for tens of millions of dollars in fees. The endgame is clear: Bank of America wants the women out of power at Alex and Ani.” The jeweler and its founder, Carolyn Rafaelian, were featured in Bank… Read full this story
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