The US Federal Government rejected on Monday a motion to dismiss Floyd Landis’s whistleblower lawsuit against Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel and former US Postal Service team owners Tailwind Sports Corp. The lawsuit alleges that Armstrong and the team management defrauded the government by doping in order to win, and if successful could cost Armstrong $120 million, three times the entire amount of US Postal Service’s sponsorship, which was $40 million.
In today’s New York Times columnist Gail Collins weighs in on the continuing saga of Lance Armstrong, asking what the point of the whole fiasco was in the first place:
Let’s consider the U.S. Postal Service Pro Cycling Team. Between 1996 and 2004, our American mail system invested an estimated $40 million in this venture, in return for which Armstrong and his teammates rode around with the Postal Service insignia on their shirts.
This would be the same Postal Service that lost $16 billion last year, and I believe I speak for every stamp-buyer in the nation when I say: What?
The Armstrong heyday was back in the era when the Postal Service, having been spun off into a quasi-private enterprise, was having delusions of corporate grandeur. The era when it lost $8.3 million in a failed attempt to start a retail operation in the Mall of America. Its leaders liked the idea that “they could rub shoulders with other C.E.O.’s who were sponsoring sports activities,” said Ruth Goldway, the chairwoman of the Postal Regulatory Commission.
Goldway was never a big fan of the postal service cycle team, although she felt it was a better marketing tool than some of the other ideas put into play, like “buying free tickets for postal employees to go to football games.” And, she said, she had some sympathy for Armstrong, “until I saw how he treated Sheryl Crow.”
Read more: The Point of Lance Armstrong – NYTimes.com.
(CBS News) Lance Armstrong has offered to pay more than $5 million to the federal government to compensate for the fraud he allegedly committed against the U.S. Postal Service, CBS News has learned. The Postal Service paid Armstrong’s team more than $30 million to sponsor it from 1999 to 2004 as part of a contract that banned doping.
CBS News has also learned Armstrong offered to be a cooperating witness in a federal investigation.
But our sources say the Department of Justice has turned down both offers as inadequate.
CNN reports that Lance Armstrong has told Oprah Winfrey that he “might” return some of the $31 million he and his team were paid by the US Postal Service. Citing an anonymous source, the network says he made the comments during an interview recorded Monday. The interview is scheduled to be broadcast Friday:
Armstrong also might pay back part of the money he received from the U.S. Postal Service, which sponsored the cyclist and his team while he was winning six of his Tours de France, the source said.
The source said Armstrong was in negotiations to repay some of the money.
ESPN reported in 2011 that the agency — which is not taxpayer funded — paid more that $31 million to sponsor the team during the final four years of its agreement.
A spokeswoman for the postal service said: “We are not in a position now to discuss any of the legal issues associated with these developments and the prior relationship between the U.S. Postal Service and Mr. Armstrong, but we will do so at an appropriate time.”
Armstrong won the Tour de France a record seven straight years, beginning in 1999. The postal service sponsored the team from 1996 to 2004.
Armstrong may not have any choice- he’s the target of a whistle-blower suit filed by former teammate Floyd Landis in 2010, claiming that Armstrong defrauded the USPS by accepting the money while violating morals clauses in the sponsorship contract. If the suit is successful, Armstrong could be liable for triple damages. Landis would be entitled to a 30% share of any award.
The Wall Street Journal reports today that the Justice Department is likely to join Landis’s suit.