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Urban Edge Network hits the SWAC, Dr. McClelland, and Webber Marketing with a $250 million lawsuit in Texas.

According to Roland Martin, the complaint filed by UEN alleges tortious interference by the conference.   

Urban Edge Network, co-founded by CEO Todd F. Brown and CRO Hardy Pelt, is an African-American-owned and operated company specializing in marketing, advertising, broadcasting, programming, and promotional activities for companies that want to partner with and support Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).   

The firm owns and operates an OTT channel and app, HBCU League Pass+, dedicated to HBCU sports and has held meetings with buyers and brands from Pepsi, IPG, Dentsu, Publicis, Nike, and General Motors.

It also coordinates advertising for Roland Martin's Black Star Network.


The 30-page complaint declares "recission of contract, unfair business practices in violation of Texas business and commerce code Sect. 17.46. UEN is seeking restitution, injunctive relief, and damages and thus petitions for a jury trial to hear the case against the SWAC.

On page six and paragraph No. 27, the complaint states Urban Edge Network anticipated revenues of hundreds of millions of dollars from relationships with these and other companies that were expanding into the HBCU market.

One of the critical elements of the lawsuit is regarding the alleged involvement of Webber Marketing under paragraph No. 31. The complaint states, "On or about May 7, 2021, in Roanoke, Texas, Plaintiff and Defendant Webber Marketing entered into a License and Distribution Agreement, a true and accurate copy of which is attached hereto as Exhibit "1" (the "Agreement") and is incorporated herein by this reference. Prior to entering into the Agreement, and in paragraphs 3 and 14 of the Agreement, Webber Marketing represented to UEN, both orally and in writing, in the State of Texas, that it had acquired the rights to market and convey television broadcasting and other rights. Based on these representations by said Defendant to UEN, and UEN mistakenly believing them to be true and being completely ignorant of the falsity thereof, UEN entered into said Agreement with Webber Marketing in the State of Texas relative to marketing and other activities that were to occur primarily in the State of Texas."

Furthermore, UEN is alleging that the "Defendants made a conscious decision, agreed, and conspired to put UEN out of business to prevent UEN from competing with Defendants for revenues that could be derived through the exercise of media, marketing, advertising and broadcasting rights including on UEN's streaming channel which it used to broadcast SWAC and other conference games."  

In addition, the plaintiff "alleges the SWAC and Webber Marketing, at the direction of Charles McClelland and Derek Webber, formulated a scheme to defame, injure and interfere with UEN's contracts by informing UEN's business partners, specifically PepsiCo, that UEN did not have the rights it was exercising because they belonged exclusively to SWAC and Webber Marketing even though Defendants knew this was untrue according to SWAC's own Bylaws which provide that SWAC did not exclusively own such rights."

Urban Edge Network was able to negotiate one of its initial contracts with a SWAC member Grambling State University. Also, the complaint alleges Dr. McClelland "told Christina Tyson, Director, Supplier Diversity, Global Procurement for PepsiCo, that UEN did not have contracts with Grambling or any other SWAC school and that only the SWAC Commissioner's office had the exclusive right to broadcast SWAC games. Once Ms. Tyson was given this information by McClelland and Webber, PepsiCo quickly phoned Messrs. Hardy and Brown and informed them of what Commissioner McClelland had told her, and that she was terminating PepsiCo's agreement with UEN."

After the 46-paragraph complaint, UEN petitions the court for relief from the SWAC for tortious interference in several areas, including "libel and slander, and defamation of character" and "unfair business practices" by Commissioner McClelland and Webber Marketing.

HBCU Legends contacted the SWAC headquarters regarding the lawsuit and its allegations but has yet to receive a reply.

*Copy of the lawsuit published by Roland Martin on Twitter.



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