A South Carolina businessman has emerged as a potential buyer for the Carolina Panthers, the Charlotte Observer reported Thursday.
Ben Navarro, who runs a financial firm in Charleston and is a former executive at Citigroup, is seriously pursuing a bid to purchase the team, according to the newspaper, which cited multiple sources familiar with the matter.
Carolina owner and founder Jerry Richardson announced in mid-December that he was putting the team up for sale in the wake of allegations of workplace misconduct made against him.
The NFL is investigating the matter, but the newspaper cited a source that said the sale could go forward before the completion of the probe.
According to the Observer, Navarro is the first prospective bidder who has deep enough pockets to buy the club outright.
The investigation of the allegations facing the 81-year-old Richardson is being led by law firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, LLP.
Richardson, who played for the Baltimore Colts in 1959-60, became the first former NFL player since George Halas to own an NFL team when he was awarded an expansion franchise on Oct. 26, 1993.