September 28, 2015
By David Lee
DALLAS (CN) – Lance Armstrong settled his decade-long Tour de France bonus dispute with a Dallas insurer and apologized for his “past misconduct.”
Litigation between Armstrong and SCA Promotions began in 2004 when Armstrong and his management company, Tailwind Sports, sued SCA in Dallas County Court for refusing to pay him a $5 million bonus for winning the Tour in 2003. SCA suspected he had doped.
The dispute went to arbitration in 2005 and Armstrong won. SCA paid Armstrong $7.5 million in 2006.
Six years later, SCA sued Armstrong, his agent William Stapleton and Tailwind, after the Union Cycliste International stripped Armstrong of his seven Tour de France victories and banned him from the sport for life, citing the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s “reasoned decision” accusing him of running the most sophisticated doping program in sports history.
Armstrong confirmed the accusations in January 2013 in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey. The interview featured excerpts from sworn testimony Armstrong gave during his lawsuit against SCA, implying he had lied under oath.
A second arbitration panel in February slapped Armstrong with $10 million in sanctions in SCA’s lawsuit because “perjury must never be profitable,” and condemned him for “almost certainly” carrying out “the most devious sustained deception ever perpetrated in world sporting history.”
A hearing before Texas state Judge Tonya Parker was set and canceled several times this summer for SCA’s attempt to confirm the arbitration panel’s award.
SCA’s attorney Jeff Tillotson, with Lynn Tillotson in Dallas, said Sunday that the company had agreed to settle with Armstrong.
“While the terms of the settlement are confidential, SCA can say that the agreement was mutually acceptable to both parties,” Tillotson said in a statement. “SCA is pleased to have this matter finally resolved and beyond this statement, SCA has no further comment.”
Armstrong said the settlement is “mutually acceptable” to both parties.
“I am pleased to have this matter behind me, and I look forward to moving on,” Armstrong said in a statement. “I do wish to personally apologize to SCA and its CEO, Bob Hamman, for any past misconduct on my part in connection with our dispute and the resulting arbitration.”
The settlement comes two years after Armstrong settled a similar claim by Acceptance Insurance in Travis County Court. Acceptance had paid Armstrong $3 million in race bonuses.
Armstrong still faces a $100 million False Claims Act lawsuit filed by his former teammate Floyd Landis.
The United States joined the lawsuit in April 2013, months after Armstrong’s lifetime ban was handed down. The U.S. Postal Service sponsored Tailwind’s team from 1996 to 2004, during which Armstrong won six consecutive Tours. The Postal Service paid $31 million in sponsorship fees from 2001 to 2004.
Landis claims defendant and former U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team manager Johan Bruyneel knew team members were using banned drugs and that Armstrong and defendant 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 a whistleblower.
From Courthouse News.