Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Fed Subpoenas 2005 SCA -Armstrong Case: More of the Same

Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed documents from a 2005 case in which a Texas-based promotions company tried to refuse making a bonus payment to the cyclist for his Tour de France win, said his Texan based attorney, Tim Herman.

The case was Lance Armstrong against SCA Promotions after the company tried to withhold a $5-million performance bonus, lost the case and eventually paid Armstrong both the bonus money plus attorneys' fees and interest that totaled $7.5 million.

The fact that SCA's attorney's could find nothing under a rock hasn't stopped the federal government from wasting our money to see if they can. It's not like SCA didn't have something at stake.

The deal was if Lance won six consecutive Tour de France victories, SCA guaranteed it would pay him $10 million. One month after he won the Tour again in 2004, SCA refused to pay $5 million of the $10 million performance award and cited rumors of performance enhancement by Armstrong, despite exhaustive testing at the 2004 Tour.

One visit to their site and you see what they are all about: "Incentivize and Motivate," their front page says in huge block letters. They clearly thought he couldn't do it, and when he did--well I guess they didn't want to pay up.

But what the Feds will be getting is readily available on the Internet, and offers a casbah of excellent motivations for all of the bad mouthers around Lance to do what they do. How this could help them other than add to the swirl of innuendo, is beyond non-investigators or perhaps even the imagination. It's so hashed and re-hashed, that's just what it is--hash.

What's more, the deposition of Lance Armstrong himself shows a number of reasons for why Greg LeMond, Emma O'Reilly, David Walsh, and to a lesser extent Betsy Andreu, have all made public statements about him that were according to him, untruthful.

The best read is when the lawyer for SCA Promotions asks Lance about his conversation with Greg LeMond regarding allegations of doping.

Armstrong said he had called Lemond to ask him why he was spreading allegations about him. Below is part of that testimony, with the questions being posed by opposing counsel for SCA Promotions, Jeffrey Tillotson:
Q. Okay. And is it your testimony you could
17 tell that he was intoxicated on the phone when you
18 talked to him?
Aggressive, agitated, angry, belligerent,
20 like a drunk.
Okay. Were his words slurring, or was he
22 irrational in some sense?
I think his words always pretty much slur.
Okay. All right. Okay. He says that you didn't
3 even invite me to the Ride for the Roses this year.
4 I'm like, wait a minute. Is that the issue here.
5 said, well, we didn't invite you because last year you
6 were drunk the whole time. You set up competing
7 autograph sessions when we were trying to do good
8 things for the fight against cancer. I said, we
9 invited you to the gala when we were going to
10 introduce everybody that was there, Miguel Indurain,
11 Eddy Merckx, the greatest of all time. You showed up
12 literally 60 seconds before you were going to be
13 introduced. Of course, we didn't invite you back.
14 We've got people that expect -- expecting you to be
15 there, expecting you to contribute to the cause, and
16 we can't rely on you. No, of course not. That
17 offended him. But that was the truth.
What's more, Lemond's testimony--he is being subpoeaned by the same Federal investigators--will be suspect. Read on...

Pic: Lemond and Armstrong in 1999: better days.
So was there any discussion about
11 whether or not Mr. LeMond had doped in connection with
12 his professional cycling career during this phone
13 call?
I mean, I think, you know, I reminded that,
15 you know, there was a fairly well circulated report
16 that came out of Italy, I don't know when it came out,
17 called the Donati report, which was authored by Sandro
18 Donati, that chronicled, I think, doping in sport,
19 maybe just doping in cycling. But Greg was referenced
20 in there with his involvement with Doctor Van Mol. I
21 reminded him of that. Of course, he didn't know about
22 that, didn't want to know about it. But then he took
23 that as a direct accusation.
What else do you recall being discussed in
25 this phone call, other than what you've told me?
Oh, he -- you know, he said the sport is
2 full of crooks, and thieves, and liars, and cheats,
3 and frauds, and -- you know, literally -- literaally
4 screaming at the top of his lungs. And then I just 5 said, well, yeah, and it's made you everything you are
6 today, Greg. He didn't like that either.
If you didn't know, the Donati Report details doping since practically the dawn of time. You can download that too on the Internet.

The entire testimony makes for an interesting read, but nothing is proven or unearthed in it, except perhaps some indications that many people around Armstrong were trying to capitalize on his fame for their own pocketbooks or harbored deep resentments that he didn't take them on his high ride of fame.

Take for example Emma O'Reilly (whose brother Sean O'Reilly lives in New York City.) She was the massage therapist who worked for the U.S. Postal team and was fired--we don't know exactly why.

But she then followed up with allegations in a book by David Walsh, "From Lance to Landis," detailing having to dispose of syringes that were used for drugs by the team. O'Reilly was reputedly paid $9,000 for information by Walsh, a highly controversial move by the journalist since  the profession frowns on renumerating sources. He also reputedly paid other sources, lending doubt to the veracity of their accounts.

O'Reilly's (paid) allegations come up in the testimony, and Mr. Herman asked Armstrong why she would do something like that, make false allegations?
Pissed. Pissed at me, pissed at Johan.
23 Really pissed at Johan. Pissed at the team. Afraid
24 that we were going to out her as a -- and all these
25 things she said, as a whore, or whatever. I don't
1 know. But primarily, I have to confess, I think it
2 was a major issue with Johan.
Now, when -- when --
And it wouldn't have been a very good book
5 if it was JB confidential. There would not have been
6 a lot of sales

And then there was Betsy Andreu, the wife of Frankie Andreu who was on the US Postal Team with Armstrong in the early 2000's. Betsy is alleged to have said that Armstrong admitted in his hospital room at the Indiana State University Hospital where he was being treated for cancer by Dr. Larry Einhorn, --that he had taken performance enhancing drugs,  'EPO, growth hormone, cortisone, steroid, testosterone.' "
Pic: Frankie Andreu, before 1996 when he was accused of doping and before his wife Betsy made allegations about Armstrong.

In the transcript for the SCA deposition, Herman takes Armstrong through this entire incident and asks him whether it happened. Armstrong responds that such a conversation never took place, and if Betsy Andreu was in the room with him, it was when they were watching a football game with many people, and he was not being examined by his doctor.

Q. Can you offer, or can you -- can you help
10 explain to me why Ms. Andreu would make that story up?
A. Well, she said in her deposition she hates
12 me.
Q. Do you believe she's making that story up
14 to -- to get back at you or to cause you harm?
A. Whether she's making up that she hates me?
Q. No. Do you believe that she's making – I mean, she's -- according to you, this story where she
18 said she specifically heard you say stuff --
A. Yeah.--Q. and that she -- and you remember she
21 testified she took Mr. Andreu out and confronted him
22 regarding whether or not he was doing the same thing.
23 Do you recall that testimony?
Yeah. Vaguely. But I have no idea why she
25 did that --
-- other than she hates me.
What is so interesting is with so much at stake, SCA Promotions could prove nothing and had to pony up $7.5 million in the end. Why? Because Dr. Einhorn had nothing in his medical records--legally recorded documents--to support the allegations by Betsy Andreu. Despite hundreds of tests made during and after an between competition there were no positive findings of drug use or use of banned substances.

What would be at stake if the allegations proved to be true? Armstrong says it himself very succinctly when asked about his contract with Tailwind, who was his sports company:

Q. Okay. So I noticed in -- in your most
20 current contract with Tailwind, there's -- there's no
21 provision regarding doping.
A. Uh-huh.
Q. And there was one in your prior contract.
A. Uh-huh.
Q. Are you aware of that distinction?
A. Not necessarily, but that -- that'2 irrelevant, because if you have a doping offense, or
3 you test positive, it goes without saying that you're
4 fired from all of your contracts, not just the team,
5 but there's numerous contracts that I have.
Q. That would all go away. Sponsorship
7 agreements, for example?
All of them. And the faith of all the
9 cancer survivors around the world. So everything I do
10 off of the bike would go away, too. And don't think
11 for a second I don't understand that. It's not about
12 money for me. Everything. It's also about the faith
13 that people have put in me over the years. So all of
14 that would be erased. So I don't need it to say in a
15 contract, you're fired if you test positive. That's
16 not as important as losing the support of hundreds of
17 millions of people.

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