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Tuesday, June 18, 2024 | Back issues
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Lance Armstrong Says|He’s Run Out of Money

DALLAS (CN) - Lance Armstrong says he will not settle the federal government's $100 million False Claims Act lawsuit because he "is not in a position to cut any more checks" after enduring several other lawsuits.

Appearing on the "Joe Rogan Experience" podcast Tuesday, Armstrong said he likes his case because the U.S. Postal Service enjoyed a "significant increase in revenue" when it sponsored his racing team.

Former teammate Floyd Landis sued Armstrong, his former team manager Johan Bruyneel and Armstrong's management company Tailwind Sports in Federal Court in 2010. The United States joined the lawsuit three years later, after Armstrong admitted to Oprah Winfrey that he used steroids and blood doping to win his record seven consecutive Tour de France victories.

Armstrong gave the interview after he was banned from the sport for life and stripped of his victories. Landis too was stripped of a Tour de France victory for drugging, after an epic breakaway in the 2006 race.

Landis claims Bruyneel knew the team was using banned drugs and that Armstrong and Tailwind Sports, among others, knowingly flouted USPS sponsorship agreements signed in 1995 and 2000. Landis could receive up to 30 percent of any recovery as whistleblower.

"That's the only active case so it gets a little trickier to talk about - just because I do not want to get crushed by lawyers - but we like our case," Armstrong said. "The Postal Service commissioned three separate studies to analyze the effect of the sponsorship on the team. We believe they made hundreds of millions of dollars and we know they were using the team as a sales vehicle during the Tour, bringing over potential clients."

Armstrong told Rogan the "legal blowback" since the Winfrey interview has been "pretty nasty," as civil lawsuits began piling up immediately.

"When all this goes down, all of these companies are coming back asking for their money," Armstrong said. "And I said, 'Who are you?'"

Calling it "the big one," Armstrong confirmed that a decade-long Tour bonus dispute with Dallas-based SCA Promotions had been settled in September.

Armstrong and Tailwind sued SCA in 2004 in Dallas County Court when it refused to pay him a $5 million bonus for winning the 2003 race due to doping suspicions. The lawsuit went to arbitration and SCA paid Armstrong $7.5 million in 2006.

SCA sued Armstrong for its money back after the Winfrey interview, which featured clips of his depositions in the case in which he denied doping, under oath. An arbitration panel slapped Armstrong with $10 million in sanctions in February, concluding that "perjury must never be profitable" and condemning him for "almost certainly" carrying out "the most devious sustained deception ever perpetrated in world sporting history."

Armstrong settled a similar lawsuit in November 2013 with Acceptance Insurance, which paid $3 million in Tour bonuses.

"There were many, many other [lawsuits], some were public and some were private," Armstrong said. "They all had to get settled, so we navigated that landscape and now we're just down to the Postal case."

Armstrong said he thinks the federal whistleblower case will go to trial within a year.

"I have no choice but to fight it," he said. "After the dozen previous lawsuits, I am not in a position to cut any more checks. I'm in a position where I have to fight this one out."

Calling Winfrey's interview an "ass whooping," Armstrong said he was not emotionally ready for it. He said he went through with it because he wanted to tell his story on his terms with a person he chose.

"The feds and the other lawsuits, they forced my hand," he said. "I knew I was going to be sitting with her ... or I was going to be sitting with a government lawyer, being deposed and videoed and being leaked."

Armstrong said his children were minimally affected by blowback from their classmates in school and on social media.

"For me, that was the biggest relief," he said. "People can say shit about me all day long but if my kids were treated roughly, that would break your heart, wouldn't it?"

Follow @davejourno
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