The Trinidad and Tobago Football Association's (TTFA) board of directors will be seeking answers from president Williams Wallace with regards to his roles in both the Kendall Walkes and Sheldon Phillips court matters when it meets at the Home of Football in Balmain, Couva, today.
Speaking to Guardian Media Sports on the condition of anonymity, a board member yesterday said if what the T&T Guardian reported earlier this week is true, then Wallace has to say something to the board because he cannot be a witness to a legal matter involving Walkes and now sit on behalf of the TTFA to lead negotiations involving Walkes. The board member said this was a conflict of interest.
Contacted on the issue, Brent Sancho, another board member who represents the T&T Pro League, said, "With regards to the Walkes and Phillps court matters which are engaging the TTFA, there are three sides to a story and I am waiting to hear from the president himself at our board meeting tomorrow (today) before I comment."
On February 13, 2020, Walkes, through attorney Melissa Roberts-John, took out a garnishee court order that froze the TTFA's accounts, effectively shutting down its operations, following a ruling by the High Court which awarded Walkes just under US$800,000 (TT$5.3 million) for breach of contract by the association in 2016.
A team from FIFA, the sports world body, which comprises Finance Coordinator (FIFA) Mehmet Dirlik, Finance Manager (CONCACAF) Alejandro Kesende, member of the CONCACAF Finance Department Dally Fuentes and American Valeria Yepes, an independent auditor, were in T&T earlier this week to verify the T&TFA's current debt and get a sense of the legal matters that are before the courts.
It was the same situation in 2019 when the Futsal team won a court order for TT$544,943 for unpaid salaries, match fees, per diem, allowances and expenses and Veron Mosengo-omba was at the helm of that CONCACAF team that visited.
The TTFA has also withdrawn Phillips' matter from the Industrial Court based on a promised settlement from the Wallace's administration of US$1,442,053.35.
Meanwhile, when asked about the new TT$25 million dollars uniform deal from the UK Sports company Avec, Sancho said, "Again, I cannot comment because I, like most board members, have not seen the contract."
According to the source, however, Wallace must let the board know what was his involvement in both matters before the board can make an informed decision.
Guardian Media Sports has seen witness statements in the ongoing legal battle between Walkes and the TTFA which were filed on June 8, 2018, by then former TTFA president Raymond Tim Kee (deceased), former general secretary Sheldon Phillips, Walkes and Wallace.
The statements gave testimony that Wallace was involved in the process of hammering out Walkes’ contract from the inception and was an advisor to the TTFA at the meeting which started the talks to hire the US-based coach. Walkes is in a legal battle to recover some in TT$5.3 million in salaries owed to him and the witness statements became public during the court matter.
On Thursday, however, Wallace challenged the article, saying it made incorrect and inaccurate judgments based on erroneous information.
"My role at the one and only meeting I attended in relation to Mr Walkes’ appointment as TTFA technical director was as an assistant to the secretariat and in my capacity as senior men’s team manager during the candidate identification process,” Wallace wrote in a letter.
“The items discussed during this meeting which required my input included logistics and planning for Mr Walkes’ return to Trinidad once he was selected. There were not final contractual details at this point. Thereafter I was never privy to any details on Mr Walkes’ final contract."
In Wallace's witness statement, which Guardian Media Sports received a copy of, he was listed as team manager from 2013 to 2016 and he detailed all that was discussed at the first meeting.
Part of Wallace's witness to the Court reads:
“In on around February 2015 the Defendant (TTFA) had a round table interview with Mr Kendall Walkes “hereafter the Claimant” at the Defendants then Hasely Crawford National Stadium Headquarters. The Defendants, then-President Raymond Tim Kee as well as the Defendant's then-General Secretary Mr Sheldon Phillips “hereafter Mr Phillips” were present at the said interview. I was also present at this meeting.
“These discussions included but not limited to monthly remunerations and/or housing, telephone benefits as well as other contractual incentives such as relocation and transportation compensation with respect to the position. Prior to the interview concluding there was a verbal offer between the Claimant and the Defendant with respect to the Technical Director position.”
SOURCE: T&T Guardian