According to a report published Sunday morning in Britains' The Independent by - who else - Andrew Jennings, the FBI is "examining" payments made to Chuck Blazer by the Caribbean Football Union which were subsequently deposited in banks in the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas.
Jennings specifically cites three payments which are supposedly of interest to law enforcement officials:
The first is the $250,000 from earlier this year which banned FIFA VP Mohammad Bin Hammam mentioned a few days ago.
Now, Jennings reports two other payments:
"In September (of) last year, Mr Warner approved another CFU payment of $205,000 to a private company operated by Mr Blazer from Cayman. It is also alleged that another payment of $57,750 went from the CFU to Mr Blazer's Cayman account."
And as interesting as all of this is, my question for the esteemed Mr. Jennings is simply this:
"Alleged" by whom, exactly?
Now I'm not questioning whether the information is genuine; Blazer isn't denying any of it, saying only that "All of my transactions have been legally and properly done, in compliance with the various laws of the applicable jurisdictions based on the nature of the transaction" which, in truth, contains enough weaselly wiggle room to mean almost anything.
Rather, I'm once again moved to ask where Andrew is getting his information.
Are we supposed to believe that he has a secret FBI contact who calls him up and feeds him confidential information about ongoing investigations? Or perhaps that he stopped by the CFU's offices in Port of Spain and they let Jennings, the man who their beloved Jack Warner called "garbage" and said he'd like to "spit on", rummage around in the file room at his leisure?
Or is it far more likely that someone at the CFU is feeding him - and, for that matter, the FBI - this stuff in an obvious, even blatant effort to smear the guy who brought Jack Warner down and whom Burrell, Austin, Klass, John and the rest of the Caribbean cronies want to replace with someone more, shall we say, "pliable"?
Now please don't misunderstand me here; maybe Blazer is as dirty as sin and the FBI will end up bringing an indictment against him and he'll be doing his fine dining courtesy of the Federal facility at Lewisburg for the next few years. (I wonder if Elaines' delivers). Only time will tell.
All I'm suggesting is that this is such an obvious setup that it makes me question whether, since he doesn't seem to have noticed this fact, Jennings has gone a bit dotty in his old age.
The best evidence of this is his penultimate paragraph:
"When Mr Warner resigned he was automatically replaced by Concacaf's vice-president, Lisle Austin, from Barbados – who immediately fired Mr Blazer. In turn, Mr Blazer barred Mr Austin from Concacaf's New York office. Mr Austin then took legal action to secure his position, resulting in his suspension by Fifa last week for breaking its rule that members cannot use the courts to settle disputes. Mr Austin said last week: "I have repeatedly asked for an independent forensic audit of Concacaf's finances, but to no avail. My struggle is to bring transparency and democracy to regional football, and indeed Fifa."
Jennings comes perilously close to telling a lie here when he asserts that Blazer chose to bar Austin from the CONCACAF offices in retaliation for firing him. It's just not so.
Furthermore, when Austin "took legal action to secure his position" he was already under a worldwide suspension. from FIFA.
As we all know, CONCACAFs' Executive Committee - the legally constituted executive authority for the Confederation (put another way, they own those offices) - suspended Austin and FIFA formally endorsed the decision. So IF Blazer "barred" Austin from the Trump Tower offices, a claim which only Jennings has ever made and which I'd love to see some proof of, he did so at the behest of his employer and FIFA itself.
Blazer isn't the one keeping a VP out of the Confederations' offices; CONCACAF and FIFA are.
Then, Jennings finishes up by uncritically quoting Austins' laughably cynical "My struggle is to bring transparency and democracy" quote as if there was the slightest bit of truth to it. Austin is only interested in becoming Jack Warner Jr., grabbing that FIFA Vice presidency and proceeding to live the high life. Nothing more. He's a 75 year old career hack and Jack Warner loyalist who's never had the slightest interest in "reforming" a damned thing.
Jennings undoubtedly knows this, but his purpose here is to slime Blazer so he's willing to overlook that inconvenient fact.
Jennings doesn't help his case much by tossing in everything but the kitchen sink; he says that Blazers' "remuneration from CONCACAF has never been made public" which is certainly true, but it's also true - as he well knows - of Lisle Austin and everybody else in CONCACAF, UEFA, the CAF, CONMEBOL and FIFA itself.
Then he tosses in the fact that Blazer pays his son Jason to be the confederations' medical officer, as if nepotism wasn't the rule rather the exception in this kind of thing. Alan Rothenberg paid his son $100,000 for selling t-shirts at the 1994 World Cup, too. Why don't we look into that one as well?
My point here isn't that Chuck Blazer is a newborn lamb innocently frolicking in a meadow of daisies. In truth the guy has a lot to answer for, perhaps most of all his 25 year record of unflinching loyalty to one of the most foul and corrupt bastards in all of world football, which is a breathtaking thing all by itself.
But Andrew Jennings can't bring accountability, honesty and justice to world football by serving as a willing, even eager, tool of a cabal of lowlifes whose sole goal is to replace an American who, for whatever his other shortcomings, finally was unable to go along with a stunning piece of open corruption last May 10 in Port of Spain, with someone who won't be quite so queasy when it comes to the rules.
Make no mistake; the CFU hasn't changed one bit and to them the fact that Warner is gone only means that one of them gets to take his place and everybody else gets to go back to business as usual.
I'm not saying that Jennings shouldn't report this stuff, whatever the source; he absolutely should, and if the FBI really has some evidence of illegality - as opposed to some canceled checks (Jennings doesn't even entertain the possibility that the money represented payment for legitimate work) which some unknown individual in the Caribbean sent them in an envelope with no return address - then I hope Blazer hangs higher than Haman.
If you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas, and Blazer laid down with some damned big dogs for a long, long time.
Jennings is somehow, incredibly, ignoring the fact that the only reason this stuff is happening is in retaliation for Blazer blowing the whistle on Jack Warner. The guy who Andrew used to chase around airports.
That's a far more interesting story.