At 10:15 local time this morning, 15 Port of Spain police officers appeared at the headquarters of the Trinidad & Tobago Football Federation in the company of a court-appointed marshal for the purposes of seizing all the physical assets of the T&TFF. They were accompanied by four former national team players who are all party to the lawsuit which has resulted in court after court after court ordering the organization to pay them the money Jack Warner agreed to at the 2006 World Cup.
According to the intrepid and courageous local reporter Lasana Liburd, (and a tip from BigSoccer legend Golazo) who has been a dogged and outspoken critic of Warner's for many years now, acting T&T Fed President Lennox Watson (President Oliver Camps is still serving a FIFA suspension for lying to the Ethics Committee) asked for an hour to try and raise some cash, which he was granted, but was
unable to get Jack to pony up unable to do so.
Although Watson may have been tipped off by someone in the media that the raid was going down, two truckloads of items were seized and will be put up for auction, including, according to Liburd, "computers, desks, refrigerators, microwaves, uniforms, paperwork and beer crates".
(We'll all be waiting patiently to see if Andrew Jennings is brave enough to risk pissing off his new favorite source by reporting on this.)
This action follows a serious of court proceedings wherein the former players attempted to get the court to include Warner as a defendant.
This effort has been strenuously opposed by Warner's attorneys who, it should be noted, are the same guys who are representing the T&T Fed itself, which might be considered an astonishingly ludicrous conflict of interest if Jack wasn't also a powerful government cabinet minister.
The problem is, of course, twofold:
First, the T&T Federation is dead broke. Jack Warner still has whatever money there was, along with the offices, the records and whatever else they ever owned. Warner, who loved billing himself as the benevolent fountain from which all good things flow, left them destitute.
(The stuff seized today has been bought with money scraped together since Warner left office, using private donations and a chunk of money granted by the Sports Ministry)
Second, the Federation never had the player's money to begin with. Warner gave it all to his younger son Daryan, who deposited it in the account of a company he owned. The company no longer exists, and the money has vanished.
Nevertheless, last Summer Jack told reporters that if he were still involved with the T&TFF his advise would be that they should go ahead and "pay what they owe".
The court has repeatedly asked Warner for an accounting of where the money went since, as Camps says "I have no information or records for (LOC Germany) as this was (...) under the control of special advisor, Mr Jack Warner."
So far, he has refused to respond. According to Liburd, another deadline is set for this Friday, but nobody really expects him to comply.
Meanwhile in Haiti, in the kind of comedic "election" for which the CFU is justifiably famous, Federation President and longtime Warner lickspittle Dr. Ives Jean-Bart was returned for a fourth consecutive term as President.
Unfortunately, virtually every established rule and procedure for said process was completely ignored, up to and including having Jean Bart himself preside over the proceedings along with a federation "commission" which, the rules dictate, was to have been in place six months ago but instead was introduced ten minutes before the vote.
Most of the opposition refused to even attend, with the exception of one Dr. Gerard Janvier, a leading member of the slate of candidates calling themselves "The Change Cartel", who strode to the podium, grabbed the microphone and began shouting that the whole thing was a "magouy" (loosely: fraud) before stomping out of the hall along with the rest of Jean-Bart's opponents.
The proceedings reportedly went much more smoothly after that, with the incumbent being unanimously re-elected, after which he gave a speech thanking everyone for their "confidence" in him and declaring a new era of "unity".
Things are looking even better for Jamaica FA and CFU strongman Horace Burrell.
His FIFA mandated suspension expired on January 17.
Two days later, he announced that he had suddenly arranged not one, not two but three full internationals for the Reggae Boyz, along with a $2 million contract with Kappa for uniforms and promotion.
Good thing he wasn't involved in football in any way during his suspension.
Still, questions abounded regarding his role in the Port of Spain Cash Grab, and a few days ago he "broke his silence" in a statement to the media (h/t to Pablo Chicago)in which he stated:
"I did not benefit from any monetary gain from that meeting in Trinidad, neither did Bruce Gaynor, my vice-president who attended, neither Horace Reid (JFF general secretary), neither Jamaica, so none of us benefited from any monetary gains"
Now call me suspicious if you want, but isn't "I did not benefit from any monetary gain" a sort of odd construct?
I mean, if you didn't take any money, why not say "I didn't take any money"?
What did he do with the envelope full of cash? Where is the money now? Why did he refuse to cooperate with Freeh and the committee if he had one nothing wrong?
These and any other questions will never be answered. FIFA still refuses - despite Sepp Blatter's newfound love of "full and complete transparency" to divulge the results of the investigation or the reasoning behind any of the punishments meted out.
Of course the end of Burrell's suspension means he can now begin serving on the Sepp-Blatter-appointed "Normalization Committee", to which he was appointed immediately after being found guilty of - well something or other.
And just last week it was announced that Blatter has appointed his old pal Captain Burrell to the committee organizing the soccer competition at the 2012 Olympics.
Apparently this is part of Blatter's new program: convict a confederation Vice President of corruption and then appoint him to a bunch of high-profile international committees.
And just imagine: Sepp still can't convince anyone that he's serious.