Lance Armstrong’s self-inflicted trials and tribulations continue unabated; the lawsuits Lance is facing continuing to grow with the Justice Department joining what has become a long list of those seeking financial retribution from the disgraced former Tour de France (farce) winner. Armstrong’s reputation left the building months ago, is now facing a series of lawsuits with more $100 million at stake – Lance Armstrong could lose everything he once owned, Armstrong’s perverse circle of life is coming to an end.
Thursday, Acceptance Insurance of Omaha, who paid Armstrong bonuses for his Tour de France wins from 1999 to 2001 are demanding Lance return the money they paid Armstrong as well as damages and legal fees.
"By his cheating and deception, Armstrong committed fraud. This suit seeks repayment of $3 million in undeserved and unearned pay Lance Armstrong obtained by fraud," the suit says.
"Lance Armstrong has been considered the greatest cyclist in the history of the sport," the suit says. "He won the most grueling sporting event, the Tour de France, a record seven times from 1999 to 2005. He did that after surviving cancer. His heroic fight with cancer inspired millions. His unprecedented athletic success brought fame, admiration and vast wealth.
"But Lance Armstrong cheated," the suit adds. "He cheated in each of those seven races. He cheated by taking performance-enhancing drugs – 'doping.' To cover up his cheating, Armstrong lied, had others lie for him, and attacked anyone who told the truth about his doping."
Last week the Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Armstrong joining a whistleblower lawsuit filed in 2010 by former teammate Floyd Landis on behalf of the Postal Service, alleging Armstrong and his team defrauded the government and violating their contract with USPS by using performance-enhancing drugs.
“This lawsuit is designed to help the Postal Service recoup the tens of millions of dollars it paid out to the Tailwind cycling team based on years of broken promises,” Ronald C. Machen Jr., U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, said in a statement. “In today’s economic climate, the U.S. Postal Service is simply not in a position to allow Lance Armstrong or any of the other defendants to walk away with the tens of millions of dollars they illegitimately procured.
"Lance Armstrong and his cycling team took more than $30 million from the U.S. Postal Service based on their contractual promise to play fair and abide by the rules - including the rules against doping," Machen Jr. said. "The Postal Service has now seen its sponsorship unfairly associated with what has been described as 'the most sophisticated, professionalized, and successful doping program that sport has ever seen. This lawsuit is designed to help the Postal Service recoup the tens of millions of dollars it paid out to the Tailwind cycling team based on years of broken promises."
Armstrong won six of his seven Tour de France titles as a member of the U.S. Postal Service team.
Armstrong and Landis (Landis filed the original whistle blower lawsuit against Armstrong in 2010) were teammates on the cycling team sponsored by the US Postal Service team, an independent government agency whose funds are considered to be public. The U.S. federal False Claims Act, allows Americans to sue on behalf of the government alleging the government, has been defrauded. According to the Washington Post nearly $100 million is potentially at issue, if the full value of the U.S. Postal Service sponsorship is trebled and Armstrong, as the team’s lead rider, is held personally accountable.
SCA Promotions a Dallas based company are going after Armstrong for $7.5 million Armstrong won in a 2006 lawsuit against the company, and an additional $4.5 million they paid Armstrong, a $12 million lawsuit.
Armstrong successfully sued the company after SCA refused to pay a $5 million bonus Armstrong was owed for winning the 2004 Tour France his six of seven fraudulent titles. Armstrong was awarded the $5 million insurance policy the United States Postal Cycling team purchased in advance of the 2004 Tour de France with SCA against Armstrong winning the Tour. The additional $2.5 million represented the court costs which Armstrong was awarded when he won the lawsuit.
During the 2006 lawsuit Armstrong filed against SCA, Armstrong offered sworn testimony that he had never used performance enhancement drugs, allegations that have since been proven false after 11 of Armstrong’s teammates and 15 support personal associated with Armstrong’s seven Tour de France titles offered sworn testimony to the United States Anti-Doping Association that Armstrong had used performance enhancement drugs.
The Times of London have filed a $1.5 million lawsuit against Armstrong. According to The Associated Press: “The Sunday Times paid Armstrong 300,000 pounds (now about $485,000) in 2006 to settle a case after it reprinted claims from a book in 2004 that he took performance-enhancing drugs.”
According to The Associated Press: “The Sunday Times paid Armstrong 300,000 pounds (now about $485,000) in 2006 to settle a case after it reprinted claims from a book in 2004 that he took performance-enhancing drugs.”
"It is clear that the proceedings were baseless and fraudulent," the paper said in a letter to Armstrong's lawyers. "Your representations that you had never taken performance enhancing drugs were deliberately false."
The paper, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., said its total claim against Armstrong is "likely to exceed" 1 million pounds ($1.6 million).
While Lance hasn’t talked about the lawsuits, his legal team have had a lot to say.
“Lance and his representatives worked constructively over these last weeks with federal lawyers to resolve this case fairly, but those talks failed because we disagree about whether the Postal Service was damaged,” Armstrong attorney Robert Luskin said in a statement regarding the Justice Department lawsuit. The Postal’s Service’s own studies show that it reaped big rewards from its sponsorship — with benefits totaling more than $100 million.
One of those studies, completed in 2002, concluded, “Without the support of USPS, this team would not have been able to accomplish the unprecedented Le Tour ‘hat trick’ and be in position to become possibly the greatest team of all-time.”
When the 2002 study is updated to include Armstrong’s admission that he cheated, bullied and lied his way to seven Tour de France titles “the greatest team of all-time” was as real as a three dollar bill.
Armstrong who reportedly is worth in excess of $125 million, earned more than $218 million during his professional cycling career, a career he lied, cheated and bullied everyone close to him.
Chicago based IEG one of the leading sponsorship think tanks told Bloomberg Media they believe Armstrong earned more than $180 in sponsorship fees during his professional cycling career and in the years since his retirement. Armstrong had partnerships with Nike Inc. (NKE), Luxottica Group SpA (LUX)’s Oakley Inc., Anheuser-Busch InBev NV (ABI)’s Michelob brand, Trek Bicycle Corp., and nutrition-product companies FRS and Honey Stinger. All of them dropped Armstrong following USADA’s release of a 1,000-page report in October detailing his years of using performance enhancement drugs.
“With the number of companies associated with him, the amount of years and the amount of money that was involved, all told, I just don’t see anything that equates to it,” Jim Andrews, senior vice president of content strategy at IEG, said last month following Armstrong’s confession.
The piper is playing a tune for Lance Armstrong – the bill is due time to pay the price.
For Sports Business News this is Howard Bloom