Armstrong sued for $12 million bonus
Thursday, February 7, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas — A Dallas promotions company sued Lance Armstrong on Thursday, demanding he repay $12 million in bonuses and fees it paid him for winning the Tour de France.
SCA Promotions had tried in a 2005 legal dispute over the bonuses to prove Armstrong cheated to win before it ultimately settled and paid him.
Armstrong recently acknowledged using performance-enhancing drugs after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency in 2012 detailed a sophisticated doping program by his Armstrong’s teams. Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and given a lifetime ban from sports.
Now, the company contends in its lawsuit, Armstrong and agent Bill Stapleton lied and conspired to cheat SCA out of millions. The lawsuit notes Armstrong repeatedly testified under oath in the 2005 dispute he did not use steroids, other drugs or blood doping methods to win, all of which he now admits to doing.
“It is time now for Mr. Armstrong to face the consequences of his actions,” said the lawsuit, which demands a jury trial. “He admits he doped; he admits he bullied people; he admits he lied.”
Armstrong won the Tour de France every year from 1999-2005. The SCA lawsuit seeks to recover $9.5 million in bonus money for winning the race from 2002-2004 and another $2.5 million paid to Armstrong for other costs and fees.
The lawsuit names Armstrong, Stapleton and Tailwind Sports, Inc., the team’s management entity, as defendants.
Tim Herman, an attorney for Armstrong and Stapleton, did not immediately return telephone messages. Herman has previously noted SCA previously settled its case with Armstrong and said it should not be allowed to reopen the matter.
An Armstrong spokesman referred to the original settlement signed in February 2006 by SCA President Robert Hamman and Stapleton, both for himself and Armstrong, that states “No party may challenge, appeal or attempt to set aside” the agreement, which is “fully and forever binding.”
SCA counters the case can be reopened because Armstrong’s repeated lies under oath prevented it from proving he doped.
“Had SCA — or the Arbitration Panel — known the truth, the arbitration award and settlement never would have occurred,” the lawsuit said.
According to the lawsuit, Stapleton and Herman both said in the original dispute if Armstrong was to be stripped of his titles by official action, SCA would have no obligation to pay or could come after its money.
The 35-page filing also goes after Armstrong’s televised interview with Oprah Winfrey last month in which he tearfully recounted having to tell his 13-year-old son the doping allegations were true.
In 2006, Armstrong told the arbitration panel he didn’t dope because he wouldn’t want his son to someday follow him into a dirty sport.
“So how could I put my son into this completely dark, dirty underworld of deceit and deception would make no sense to me. I would never do that,” Armstrong said, according to the lawsuit.
Separately, USADA chief executive Travis Tygart said Wednesday the agency has been in contact with him Armstrong and is giving him more time to decide if he wants to cooperate with its investigators and tell more about what he knows of doping in cycling.
USADA extended its original Wednesday deadline to Feb. 20 to work out an interview with investigators under oath.
Just two weeks ago, Herman had strongly suggested Armstrong would not be interested in talking with USADA investigators. Tygart said it was Armstrong who asked for more time.
“We understand that he does want to be part of the solution and assist in the effort to clean up the sport of cycling,” Tygart said in a statement. “We have agreed to his request for an additional two weeks to work on details to hopefully allow for this to happen.”
The agency has said cooperating in its cleanup effort is the only path open to Armstrong if his lifetime ban from sports is to be reduced.
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