Former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner has sued the T&T Football Association (TTFA) over almost $16 million in loans he claims he provided to the organisation while at its helm.
In the lawsuit, filed in the Port-of-Spain High Court on Monday, Warner is alleging the TTFA failed to repay the loans despite acknowledging them several times in the past.
According to his court filings, which were obtained by Guardian Media Sports, Warner claims he provided the loans, totalling $15,761,003, over 15 years. The money was allegedly used to cover the association's expenses, including the successful 2006 World Cup qualification campaign.
Warner claimed the TTFA never disputed its debt to him, as it was reflected in its financial statements between 2007 and 2012. He included correspondence from former TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee, who wrote to him to acknowledge the debt and assured him it would be cleared after the association's financial position improved.
While Warner claimed he attempted to get Tim Kee to commit to a payment plan in 2015, no assurances were given. However, the debt was eventually written off in the association's 2015 financial statements, as it was claimed the debt was statute-barred and it had no obligation to pay.
"These accounts were published after the date of both letters from president Raymond Tim Kee, who had on two separate occasions acknowledged the debt to the claimant...At no time did the claimant inform the defendant that they were no longer under an obligation to repay the debt," Warner's documents stated.
Through the lawsuit, Warner is seeking repayment of the money advanced, plus interest calculated using a prime commercial lending rate.
In the event Warner eventually succeeds in his lawsuit it would put the association in an even more precarious financial position, as over the past few years it has been swamped by legal disputes from national players and former technical staff.
Warner is no stranger to the courts, as he is currently fighting his extradition to the United States to face charges arising out of a US Department of Justice investigation into corruption in FIFA.
Last month, US District Court Judge William Kuntz entered a default judgement against Warner in a US$20 million embezzlement case which CONCACAF brought against him and former executive Chuck Blazer. Kuntz's decision was based on the fact that Warner had failed to register an appearance in the case through an attorney.
CONCACAF has also brought a US$37.8 million lawsuit against Warner, his wife, accountant and two companies over ownership of the Dr Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence in Macoya. In that case, CONCACAF is alleging that despite providing the funds for the project, the facility remained under one of Warner's companies.
The case is still being heard by High Court Judge Robin Mohammed, who is currently mulling over an application to have Warner's wife and the companies removed from the case before it goes to trial.
Warner is being represented by Rekha Ramjit and Alvin Pariagsingh.
Jack sues TTFA for $15m.
By Jada Loutoo (Newsday).
Already saddled with mounting debts from lawsuits and outstanding payments, the TT Football Association is facing another legal battle in court.
Calling for repayment of a $15 million loan is the association’s former adviser and former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner.
Warner’s attorneys on Monday filed the claim against the TTFA in the Port of Spain High Court for debt recovery and breach of contract.
Warner wants repayment of $15, 761,003, or alternatively damages, for breach of contract with interest at the prime commercial lending rate.
Representing Warner, who is also a former CONCACAF president, are attorneys Rekha Ramjit and Alvin Pariagsingh.
According to the claim, over a period of approximately 15 years, Warner made loans to the TTFA to fund activities for members, in expressed and implied terms that they would be repaid in a reasonable time.
The claim said indebtedness to Warner was never disputed and was reflected in the TTFA’s financial statements for the years 2007 to 2012.
On March 10, 2015, Warner wrote to the TTFA asking for a statement outlining the association’s indebtedness to him. By letter, on March 21, 2015, then TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee wrote to Warner, acknowledging the $15 million debt, but said the association was at the time not in a financial position to settle in part or in whole.
A pledge was given to repay Warner when the TTFA’s financial position improved. According to Warner’s claim, the acknowledgment was unequivocal and unconditional. Warner said he was also asked to consider a reduced settlement amount.
The lawsuit says Warner continued to contact Tim Kee, pressing for a confirmed date of payment, rather than a “loose and open-ended commitment” of when the TTFA’s financial position changed or would change.
Warner continued to hold discussions with the TTFA by telephone and Tim Kee again wrote to Warner on October 30, 2015, acknowledging the debt as well as other debts to companies of which Warner is a shareholder or director.
The debt recovery claim said between then and June 2017, Warner made several oral requests for the TTFA to give a firm commitment to a date by which the debt would be settled, in whole or in part.
“No commitment was forthcoming,” it said.
A pre-action protocol letter was sent on June 6, 2017, calling on the TTFA to pay the entire $15 million or make satisfactory arrangements to pay. After an extension was sought, and given, to reply on June 23, 2017, the TTFA asked Warner to disclose copies of all documentation he had on the loans. Warner’s attorneys wrote back telling the TTFA its response was laughable at best, but referred to a confirmation of the debt owed.
Warner’s attorneys also warned that should the matter go to trial, he would contended the TTFA was acting in bad faith.
The lawsuit also said the debt was even acknowledged in the TTFA’s published audited financial statements for 2014, but was withdrawn from the accounts of 2015, and explained as a “write back of a significant amount due to a related party during the year that was either statute-barred or for which the association had no obligation to pay.”
However, Warner’s claim insists that at no time was he told that the debt was being taken off the books and pointed out that Tim Kee twice acknowledged the debt. The claim also says at no time did the TTFA tell him it was no longer under an obligation to repay him.
The lawsuit also said the TTFA’s financial statements confirmed it was a going concern and, according to the claim, the assumption of its being a going concern was maintained on the basis of the commitment of FIFA and the Government to provide, as necessary, financial and managerial support to the association.
Warner claims because of the TTFA's failure to repay the debt, he has suffered loss and damage.