BankUnited Financial Corp. has counter-sued the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in the fallout from one of the costliest failures of the financial crisis — that of Florida's BankUnited FSB.

The bank holding company challenged the $4.9 billion claim the FDIC filed in its bankruptcy case, and said federal regulators were essentially in charge when BankUnited collapsed.

Regulators, rather than bank management, were running the show in February 2009, or even earlier, lawyers for the bank holding company said in papers filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida.

The Office of Thrift Supervision seized the Coral Gables, Fla.-based bank on May 21, 2009, and handed it over to the FDIC, which sold it.

BankUnited's parent filed for Chapter 11 protection and was hit with claims from the FDIC for unpaid capital maintenance obligations, tax refunds and other alleged debts.

The holding company Wednesday answered back, asking for a share of tax refunds and other assets, including real estate and intellectual property and artwork.

In court papers, the holding company says it can't be more specific, because it's having trouble getting access to BankUnited's books and records.

The FDIC, as receiver for BankUnited's creditors, has some of the records and the new owners of BankUnited have the rest, court papers say.

A spokesman for the FDIC declined to comment on the filing Friday.

Private equity investors headed by former North Fork Bank executive John Kanas bought BankUnited in a deal that called for them to pump $900 million in fresh capital into the operation.

Based in Coral Gables, Fla., BankUnited ran into trouble due to risky home loans.

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