Armstrong sued for $12 million: Will Lance lose his victory bonus?

Lance Armstrong is being sued by a sponsor for $12 million in victory bonuses. His attorneys say the case has no merit, citing a settlement reached after Armstrong swore in court that he hadn't used performance-enhancing drugs.

Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns / AP / File
Lance Armstrong, seen here during his interview with Oprah Winfrey last month, is being sued for his Tour de France race winnings.

Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong on Thursday was sued by a company that paid him about $12 million for three of his seven Tour de France wins that have since been stripped from him for his use of banned drugs.

SCA Promotions Inc, in a suit filed in Texas state court in Dallas, alleges Armstrong and his management company, Tailwind Sports, defrauded SCA into paying Armstrong $12.1 million in bonuses and interest for his 2002, 2003 and 2004 Tour de France wins by lying about Armstrong's use of performance-enhancing drugs during those events.

Last month, Armstrong ended years of vehement denial and admitted in a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey that he had cheated his way to a record seven Tour de France titles through the use of banned, performance-enhancing drugs.

Armstrong has been banned from cycling for life and stripped of race wins, including all of his Tour de France victories.

"Lance Armstrong cheated to win all of his Tour de France victories," SCA Chief Executive Officer Robert Hamman said in a statement. "He has admitted as much on national TV."

"As a result of Lance Armstrong's unjustly achieved victories and related activities, SCA paid $12,120,000 to Tailwind Sports Inc," Hamman said. "SCA also suffered reputational damage and substantial loss of business."

This will not be the first court battle between Armstrong and the Texas-based company, and the cyclist's attorneys said the latest suit has no merit.

Due to doping allegations at the time, SCA initially refused to pay Armstrong $5 million in bonus money that Tailwind Sports, the owner of Armstrong's U.S. Postal team, had promised him if he won a sixth Tour title in 2004. Tailwind Sports took out insurance coverage with SCA.

But SCA was ordered to pay up after Armstrong took the company to court, swearing under oath that he was a clean rider who won fairly.

SCA paid the $5 million performance bonus, plus $2.5 million in interest and attorney fees, as part of a 2006 legal settlement.

That agreement's "plain words bars SCA from ever revisiting the settlement it entered into in 2006," Armstrong attorney Mark Fabiani said in an email on Thursday.

Armstrong also faces a civil whistleblower lawsuit accusing him of fraud. That suit was filed by former teammate Floyd Landis and the U.S. Justice Department has not said whether it intends to join the suit.

Also, last month two California men sued Armstrong and his book publishers for fraud and false advertising, claiming his best-selling memoirs, billed as non-fiction, were revealed to be filled with lies after his confession to systematic doping.

(Editing by Dale Hudson and David Gregorio)

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.