Former FIFA vice president, Jack Warner, is set to sue the T&T Football Association (TTFA) for $15.7 million after claiming the debt was written off at a board meeting. Speaking on the Morning Brew yesterday as part of a panel discussion on the state of football in this country, Warner told host Hema Ramkissoon, he intends to enter legal proceedings this coming week.
“The litigation the TTFA is facing now is a joke to what is coming up because they sat down in a meeting and they agreed to just, out of the blue, withdraw a loan they had on their books for some 15 years for some $15 million to Jack Warner,” he said.
TTFA president, David John-Williams, would neither confirm nor deny yesterday whether Warner’s claim was correct. He told Guardian Media Sports, “The only thing I would say on that matter is that Raymond Tim Kee wrote to Mr Jack Warner in 2015 saying that the TTFA owes him $15.7 million – a copy of that letter I do have – and Jack Warner is suing the TTFA based on that letter.” Pressed further for an answer whether Warner’s debt was taken off the books as he alleges, John-Williams said he would not be drawn into the controversy “because there will be a time in the coming weeks where I have to put everything on the table”.
The TTFA head said Tim Kee’s letter was based on an unaudited financial statement in 2012.
It was a revelation that came two weeks after former TTFA president, Raymond Tim Kee, said during a press conference he left a debt of $14 million when he exited office. Tim Kee backpedalled yesterday during a phone conversation with Guardian Media Sports when asked about the inconsistent debt figures that came from different sources. When asked by Guardian Media Sports if the debt he spoke off during the press conference did not include what is owed to Warner, Tim Kee said, “Yes, there are certain debts that I did not include in that $14 million. That $14 million were some debts with some more or less, small people with whom I had a conversation, and we had agreed that when getting the money we were going to pay them.”
The former TTFA president also said a figure in the range of $150 thousand is owed to him and was not included in the debt he presented at the press conference. He went further to advise, “When you are involved in football at an executive level, don’t make the mistake and spend your own money… We have a tendency to put your hands in your pocket to recover when situations change but what I have found is that when you do that there are questions people ask, and the question is whether you want to go through that with all the allegations.”
Tim Kee was then asked if he felt, according to his statement, when Warner gave of his personal finances, that there was a risk of him not getting it back. He responded by saying, “I didn’t bear any intention not to pay the debt, that’s why I paid the amount I did. I paid 27 people from 48… so my philosophy is to pay the debt.” However, the former TTFA president, who served between 2012 and 2015, said he opted to pay the smaller creditors because they needed it more urgently.
Warner’s decision to take legal action was met with immediate opposition by the Morning Brew panel of former T&T footballer Brent Sancho, and former Caledonia AIA chairman, Louis Lee Sing.
The latter said, “Not because something that was not in the best interest of the game happened under his stewardship should we encourage it in the now. Times have changed.” Sancho, on the other hand, remarked, “Let football stop airing their dirty linen in public. It’s unfortunate to hear that Mr Warner is going to continue in this vein of crushing the federation.”