DALLAS (CN) – SCA Promotions sued Lance Armstrong for $12 million, demanding return of the bonus money he was paid for his tainted Tour de France victories.
Dallas-based SCA Promotions sued Armstrong, his management company Tailwind Sports, and his agent William Stapleton, in Dallas County Court.
SCA demanded the money back in October after the Union Cycliste International stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France victories and banned him from the sport for life.
The UCI acted after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency released a “reasoned decision” that accused Armstrong of running the most sophisticated doping program in sports history.
Armstrong confirmed the accusations in January in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey.
SCA says in its 35-page complaint: “By now, everyone knows that Lance Armstrong perpetuated what may well be the most outrageous, cold-hearted and elaborate lie in the history of sports. While he lied to everyone, Lance Armstrong lied to SCA in shocking fashion: while testifying under oath in a legal proceeding.”
The complaint then cites Armstrong’s conflicting statements from Nov. 30, 2005, and his Jan. 14, 2013 interview with Winfrey: with photos.
Armstrong and Tailwind sued SCA in 2004 after it refused to pay his $5 million bonus for winning the Tour in 2003. SCA suspected him of doping.
Armstrong took SCA to arbitration in 2005 and won, as he had been named the official winner of the Tour. The parties settled in 2006 and Armstrong was paid.
Armstrong won the Tour de France an unprecedented seven times, in a row, from 1999 to 2005.
In its new complaint, SCA claims that Armstrong made two statements during arbitration: first, that he told a “critical” lie under oath, that he had “never, ever” used performance enhancing drugs in his entire career.
Second, SCA says the defendants assured it and the arbitrators that if Armstrong had cheated, and was subsequently stripped of his Tour titles, he would be obligated to refund the prize money paid by SCA.
“This lawsuit is being brought because the first statement was a deliberate lie perpetuated by Mr. Armstrong and his cohorts in order to win the Tour de France races and, now that he has been exposed and stripped of those titles, it is time to make him live up to what he said in the second statement,” the complaint states.
It adds: “Mr. Armstrong did more than just deny under oath that he used performance enhancing drugs. He and others (like Bill Stapleton) were stunningly ruthless in their efforts to maintain the fiction that Mr. Armstrong was a ‘clean’ rider. Mr. Armstrong himself pressured and intimidated other riders and his own teammates into complying with a ‘code of silence’ surrounding their doping activities. He used overwhelming influence in the sport and marketplace to eliminate serious press scrutiny and negative reporting. He illegally and improperly sought to buy influence with regulatory officials by making or attempting to make cash contributions to them. He regularly cheated during event testing to avoid detection.” (Parentheses in complaint.)
SCA says that Armstrong attacked anyone who questioned him about doping, and that it lost substantial amounts of business and suffered damage to its reputation as a result.
“SCA was one of those viciously attacked by Mr. Armstrong when it first suggested that Mr. Armstrong may have cheated in connection with the 2004 Tour de France race,” the complaint states. “Mr. Armstrong’s camp immediately denounced SCA as ‘shameless,’ untruthful, and a cheat. In an effort to intimidate SCA by hurting its business, Mr. Armstrong and defendant Tailwind (aided by Bill Stapleton) took out an advertisement to publicly humiliate SCA and to proclaim Mr. Armstrong’s innocence in connection with any drug use.” (Parentheses in complaint.)
Throughout the complaint, SCA contrasts Armstrong’s previous denials with his admissions to Winfrey, calling the contradictions “stunning.”
“Mr. Armstrong, under questioning from his own lawyers, swore under oath during the arbitration trial that he was the ‘clear’ winner of the 2004 Tour de France race,” the complaint states. “As Mr. Armstrong himself testified to the arbitrators in January 2005, ‘I race the bike straight up fair and square.’
“He then turned around and told Ms. Winfrey that all of his sworn testimony was completely false: ‘I know the truth. The truth isn’t what was out there. The Truth isn’t what I said and now it’s gone – this story was so perfect for so long … I mean it’s just this mythic perfect story, and it wasn’t true.'”
SCA claims that Armstrong and his attorneys were “so confident” that his cheating would never be exposed that he agreed that if he was caught and stripped of his Tour titles, he would be legally required to repay SCA.
“‘If titles are stripped as a result of official action, then Tailwind agrees to refund any payments made, which is precisely what Tailwind has been saying since this case began,'” Armstrong’s attorney Tim Herman said, according to the complaint. “‘The tribunal can do nothing to alter the liability of Tailwind, which – which applies immediately upon Armstrong becoming the official winner of the respective events.'”
Herman is not a party to the complaint.
SCA says it is “one of the most significant victims” of Armstrong’s deceit, and that the defendants’ conduct “made a mockery of the legal system.”
It says that Armstrong claimed the arbitration award exonerated him and proved his innocence.
However, “In fact, the legal proceedings and the arbitration award touted by Mr. Armstrong were procured by extrinsic fraud on the part of Mr. Armstrong and others,” the complaint states. “It is time now for Mr. Armstrong to face the consequences of his actions. This includes returning all of the funds paid to him by SCA, which totals more than $12 million.”
SCA seeks vacation of the arbitration award and settlement agreement, claiming they were procured by fraud.
It seeks disgorgement and the return of prize money, and damages for conspiracy, unjust enrichment and breach of contract. It also seeks appointment of a receiver over Tailwind and civil sanctions against Armstrong and Stapleton for lying under oath, and contempt.
It is represented by Jeffrey Tillotson with Lynn Tillotson of Dallas.
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