AT&T files suit against Dayton’s Stratacache, alleging $450,000+ in unpaid fees

Stratacache CEO said company disputes ‘overcharges,’ and has negotiated with AT&T for two years on issue

Telecommunications giant AT&T Corp. has sued Dayton digital technology company Stratacache in federal court for what it alleges is a failure to pay more than $450,000 in hosting and other telecommunication services fees.

“AT&T billed Stratacache for services provided from approximately December 2018 through ongoing, which included bandwidth usage and overage charges, incurred by Stratacache on the account,” plaintiff AT&T said in a U.S. District Court filing Thursday.

“Stratacache has failed to pay all amounts due including, but not limited to, amounts due for the services and other charges which exceed $450,301.37,” the filing states. “AT&T has demanded payment for the services provided to Stratacache, but has received no part of the balance due.”

The filing adds: “AT&T seeks judgement in the principal amount of $450,301.37.”

After reviewing the court documents Friday, Chris Riegel, Stratacache founder and chief executive, said the suit centered on an enduring disagreement between the two companies over billing and was “without merit”.

“This has been a two-plus year, almost three-year billing dispute with AT&T relative to overcharges in their (AT&T) data centers,” Riegel said, adding that he is “100% confident” the matter will be resolved in Stratacache’s favor.

The dispute involves charges for serving AT&T clients in AT&T data centers, Riegel said.

AT&T has also been a steady reseller of Stratacache products for close to 15 years, he noted.

Stratacache’s business remains profitable and is cash-stable, the CEO also said. “This is not material to the business,” he added, referring to the billing dispute. “We continue to run the the business in a very sharp and focused matter.”

Riegel said Stratacache can afford what he called the “overcharges” with little problem, but the amount is at issue.

“The irony of AT&T charging us with overcharges for serving their customers is pretty rich, and that’s why we refuse to pay it and have been negotiating around it for two years,” Riegel said.

A message seeking comment was sent to AT&T’s attorney.

A global company, Dayton-based Stratacache develops and makes customer facing technology for retail and other settings, including drive-through lane technology for fast food outlets and restaurants, menu boards and many other customer-facing displays and monitors.

Credit: Restaurant Brands International

Credit: Restaurant Brands International

The company is based in Dayton but has operations around the world, with some of its manufacturing and sales concerns located in China and Asia. Like other businesses, Stratacache has had to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit the dining and restaurant sector especially hard.

In the past 14 or so months, Stratacache has invested over $20 million in offices and property across the country, having most recently announced the purchase of a building in the Chicago area, a four-story class A building in Lisle, Ill. which was once a headquarters for McCain Foods, Inc.

The company has also been an active investor in the Dayton area. It bought the former Kettering Tower, downtown Dayton’s tallest tower, in early 2019 for $13 million. That purchase came less than two months after Stratacache also bought the Courthouse Plaza tower at 10 N. Ludlow St. for nearly $1.7 million.

Stratacache remains committed to Dayton, Riegel told the Dayton Daily News in February.

“Being competitive globally means you have to have the right people in the right places for that success,” he said. “We have added significant capabilities to the business in the past year and for each job we generate in a new factory or development center, that translates to a new job in support, accounting, marketing or sales in Dayton.”

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