Over the last few days a number of kind correspondents have sent along links to the T&T PLAYERS WIN IN COURT story (credit where it's due, BS stalwart Golazo was the first).
Bloggers here and there have picked up on the tale, whereby a Federal Judge in Trinidad & Tobago has dismissed the ludicrous excuses that the TTFF has used to deny the prior ruling of the International Court for Sport Arbitration which ordered them to pay the T&T national team players from the 2006 World Cup the money they are owed.
Essentially, the Federation claimed that the players breached a confidentiality agreement which was part of the ruling and thus the ruling was voided. The T&T Justice ruled that even if that were true – a highly questionable posit at best – the TTFF can't unilaterally make that decision; only the court can.
(If everybody who lost a lawsuit was subsequently allowed to decide not to pay up because they feel the winner broke a rule, no one would ever be paid anything, ever. The very thought gives thousands of lawyers night sweats merely thinking about it.)
Let's just say that while it's nice that the players once again got a judge to say that Warner blatantly stole their money, everybody already knew it.
Unfortunately, the goal isn't getting a Judge to say "you're right". The goal is to get the money to the players, many of whom desperately need it.
And it says here that Jack Warner has absolutely no intention whatever of handing over $88 million, or $120 million or any other figure that may or may not be owed.
Not now. Not ever. Never.
To start with the most basic fact: the TTFF doesn't have that kind of money. In fact, they have almost no money at all.
The TTFF has three main sources of funds: first, the T&T Government gives them a few million a year to operate youth programs. This is where most of their operating budget comes from.
Secondly, CONCACAF funnels money from FIFA in the form of development grants and such. I trust I don't need to remind anyone who runs CONCACAF.
Thirdly, they make some revenue every year from national team ticket sales and their cut of the gate from matches overseas. But as we learned from the former head of the Scotland FA, those checks are made out to Jack Warner personally. It's not deposited with the federation.
Bottom line, you might as well get the judge to order the TTFF to pay the players ten billion dollars apiece. There just isn't any money.
So where did all that money go? Why not just go find it and grab it up?
The problem there is that the check from FIFA went directly to Warners' younger son Darryl, who deposited the entire amount into the account of a business he owned. Said business no longer exists. The money vanished along with the company. And these people are not amateurs, this is Jack Warner, a man with incredible influence – political as well as financial – everywhere in the Caribbean.
Go ahead. Try and trace the cash through the banking systems of four or five or six neighboring island nations. Start with the Caymans. Good luck.
Well then, you might logically say, let's go after Warner himself.
Good plan except that a) he provably never had the money b) you don't have a judgment against him, you have a judgment against the TTFF and (best of all) c) Jack Warner holds no official position with the TTFF; he is an unpaid "Special Adviser".
He's not a dumb man.
Yes, they reportedly now plan on bringing in forensic accountants to try and track down the cash.
Cash which Jack Warner has had over four years to squirrel away, move, transfer, launder, scrub as clean as a hounds' tooth, maybe do a few currency exchanges with, you name it, it's probably been done, and this in an area of the world not exactly renowned for scrupulousness in the observation of banking laws or any notable dedication to transparency and accountability.
Warner has known, much better than you or I, that this day was coming. He's ready. He's been ready.
The stories now making the rounds make mention of the money he eventually sent each player in lieu of what they were owed. It was US$500, although you'll see a different amount in various places because they're stating the amount in T&T dollars.
As I've mentioned before, those checks were drawn on a CONCACAF bank account in a Miami Florida bank.
Not a T&T bank. Not a TTFF account. Not Jack Warners' account. Not even Darryl Warners' account.
A CONCACAF account.
The reason he had to dip into Confederation funds – and I still contend this is evidence of fraud, and fraud perpetrated in the US – is because the TTFF doesn't have enough money to even cover 14 US$500 checks.
Good luck with that $88 million.
Jack Warner has no intention of paying that money; no court has said he has to and he's the only one who can afford it.
You can't squeeze blood out of a turnip and you can't get $120 million out of the TTFF.
Maybe someone should ask Sunil Gulati whether he plans on voting to re-elect Jack Warner. It would be interesting to hear the response.