A wealthy South Carolina businessman named Ben Navarro is actively exploring a bid to buy the Carolina Panthers, multiple sources familiar with the matter told the Observer.

In December, Panthers owner Jerry Richardson said he was putting the team up for sale following an explosive Sports Illustrated report alleging sexual and racial misconduct by Richardson in the workplace.

An NFL investigation regarding the allegations is ongoing. A source said that a team sale is allowed to happen before the investigation is completed.

Navarro could be the first known bidder with the financial wherewithal to buy the team outright.

A former Citigroup executive, Navarro heads Sherman Financial Group, a Charleston-based debt collection firm.