Lance Armstrong sued for millions

Posted at 9:45 PM, Feb 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-06 21:45:35-05
By Ed Lavandera and Steve Almasy

(CNN) — The sports insurance company that paid Lance Armstrong more than $10 million in bonuses plans to file a lawsuit to recover its money, an attorney for SCA Promotions told CNN on Wednesday.

Jeffrey Tillotson said SCA has already asked the disgraced former cycling champ for the money back.

An attorney for Armstrong said the claim has no merit.

“We made our demand for the return of the money we paid him for winning the Tour de France races where the titles were stripped,” Tillotson told CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield. “Mr. Armstrong and his legal team have not complied with that demand.”

Tillotson said the suit, which has not been filed yet, will ask for the return of $12 million in bonus money paid for wins from 2002 to 2005 and for millions in legal costs and interest.

Armstrong sued SCA after it delayed his 2005 bonus payment and raised questions about allegations involving his use of performance-enhancing drugs. Armstrong testified under oath in that case that he had never doped. SCA settled with Armstrong a year later.

“But both he and his lawyers almost taunted us and said if we are ever stripped of those titles, we will give you the money back,” Tillotson said Wednesday. “We will simply ask him to finally live up to his word and give that money back.”

Armstrong’s attorney, Mark Fabiani, argues the insurance company has no right to the money because of the 2006 settlement agreement, which reads in part, “no party may challenge, appeal or attempt to set aside the arbitration award.”

Fabiani says, “It is clear as day the insurance company has zero right to reopen the matter.”

Tillotson said that Armstrong lied throughout his testimony, not just about whether he had blood doped or taken steroids.

“He lied about virtually everything. And we are going to ask the arbitration panel that heard that testimony to punish him and hold him accountable for it,” the attorney said.

A year ago, federal prosecutors told Armstrong that the two-year investigation into his use of performance enhancing drugs was over. No charges would be filed.

“We made a decision on that case a little over a year ago. Obviously, we’ve been well aware of the statements that have been made by Mr. Armstrong in other media reports. That has not changed my view at this time,” United States Attorney Andre Birotte said this week.

Now it appears that federal investigators may not be ready to give up just yet.

Citing high-level sources, ABC News reported that agents are looking into charges of obstruction, intimidation and witness tampering.

A spokesperson for the Food and Drug Administration, which has been investigating Armstrong, told CNN it’s “an ongoing matter.”

Armstrong first admitted the use of performance enhancing drugs and blood doping during a January television interview with Oprah Winfrey, ending years of denial that he cheated during the prime years of his cycling career.

He was stripped of his Tour de France titles by international cycling’s governing body in October after a damning report by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency accused him and his team of “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program” in cycling history.

The agency said Wednesday that it has been in talks with Armstrong about having him help clean up the sport.

Chief executive officer Travis Tygart said Armstrong was granted a two-week extension to Wednesday’s deadline to tell the USADA whether he will help or not.

USADA has banned Armstrong, 41, for life but did say the ban could be reduced to eight years if he cooperated under oath with investigators.

Armstrong’s cycling career is long over, but he competed in and won several triathlons in 2012.

Armstrong told Cycling News in late January that he thought a truth and reconciliation commission, run by the World Anti-Doping Agency, was the “only way forward.”

At the time he said WADA should run the probe, not the USADA, “This is a global sport, not an American one. One thing I’d add, the (International Cycling Union) has no place at the table.”

Since Lance Armstrong’s interview with Winfrey, the disgraced cyclist has disappeared from public view.

Once prolific on Twitter, he hasn’t tweeted in nearly a month, and his profile page now ends with these words of wisdom: “Met patience in 1996 but only now am I getting to know and appreciate her.”

CNN’s Ed Lavandera reported from Dallas. Steve Almasy reported and wrote this story in Atlanta. CNN’s Jason Morris and Joe Sutton also contributed to this story.

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