Dog bites man. Sun rises in East. Jack Warner steals a big pile of money and Trinidad & Tobago is left holding the bag. According to a report this morning from the UK Sunday Times (subscription required) which will shock literally no one who has been paying the least bit of attention, a large accumulation of money donated for Haitian disaster relief was entrusted to former CONCACAF President Jack Warner and promptly vanished into thin air.
The Soca Warriors can sympathize. Or could, if they weren't busy setting up a booth at the Port of Spain flea market and peddling Jack's desk chair and personal fridge.
Of course, as with much else connected with Warner, the basics of the story have been known for a while:
You'll of course recall the January, 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti and caused, along with many other tragedies, the Haiti Federation (FHF) headquarters building to collapse, killing 30-some people including almost the entire national staff.
In an oh-so-typical Warner move, he jetted into Haiti almost as soon as the dust had cleared, toured the pile of rubble that had been the FHF headquarters and then told the media:
"My friends have told me that they are hungry and in need of basic human supplies. A tide of hungry humanity surrounds me. How can I not hear their cries for help?
"When I return home I will personally embark on a food drive to get you these supplies."
FIFA responded to his appeal with an immediate $1.6 million (US$250,000) gift for use as emergency aid in Haiti.
Additionally, former FIFA VP Chung Mong-Joon donated US$500,000 in the name of the South Korean FA which, it should be noted, was bidding for the 2022 World Cup at the time.
The problem, of course, was that Haiti didn't even have a functioning telephone network, let alone a banking system. As a result, sending the money directly there was impossible.
So instead they sent to money to the CONCACAF account in Port of Spain, from whence it was transferred to the T&TFF's account and then promptly vanished.
Out of a total of TT$4.76 million (US$750,000) the FHF eventually received TT$381,000 (US$60,000).
The other US$690,000? Do we really have to explain that part?
As mentioned, much of this was already known. Chung Mong-joon has brought it up numerous times, asking and then demanding an accounting. But if a T&T court can't get Jack to hand over some simple bank records, the South Koreans don't stand a chance.
Now, however, with Warner having lost the cover which Sepp Blatter has provided him for lo these many years, FIFA has suddenly taken a great interest in what happened to the money.
Jean-Bart, who has been steadfastly refusing to mention anything about all of this, has suddenly filed a complaint. He says Warner told him "the money is there, and I could have it any time, but I didn't get it."
In response, FIFA has done two things:
First, it stopped paying Warner's ExCo pension, which amounts to some US$230,000 a year until he reaches age 96.
(Allow me: Warner is currently 69, so if he lives to a very ripe old age we're talking well over US$6,000,000, which is a scandal all by itself.)
Second, sadly, it has suspended all payments of any kind to the T&TFF.
After asking them, in a letter last October, to provide them with an accounting, they have announced that:
"As FIFA has not received any satisfactory response FIFA has stopped with immediate effect any payments to the TTFF until it will receive proper accounts of these funds allocated as an immediate relief support to the FHF."
Of course legally this is absolutely the right thing to do; FIFA sent them some money, it vanished, FIFA wants an explanation.
But from the standpoint of simple fairness, everybody knows where the money went, knows that there are no records hiding in the T&TFF's files (which they no longer have anyway now that the players have cleaned out the building) and knows that, in short, T&T doesn't have any way to comply with such an order.
We'll all want to recall this the next time some media lackwit repeats the ludicrous fantasy that Warner gave all that TV money to the associations so that little children could play the game.
The man is a kleptomaniac who stole everything he could get his hands on while FIFA turned a blind eye. He never, ever, did one thing that wasn't calculated to benefit himself and his greedy, degenerate sons.
In other Pirate of the Caribbean news, it appears that Warner is finally feeling the pressure to respond the the ugly publicity surrounding his stiffing of the Soca Warriors.
Facing a court-ordered deadline of Friday for presenting any and all financial records related to the 2006 World Cup campaign, Warner told a radio interviewer on Saturday that he had long ago given the court everything it wanted.
This being a blatant lie so outrageous that even Warner must have choked on it, he then added that there was "a possibility" that "some records were missing".
(For the record, the court says that Warner has never sent them so much as a cocktail napkin.)
Unfortunately for Warner, it's my understanding that judges have a funny way of deciding for themselves whether someone has been cooperative.
He also said that he had generously offered to settle with the players for TT$15 million of the $25 million the court says they are owed and that the players turned him down.
(If true - and the man lies like the rest of us breathe - it would have had to have been in the last week or so.)
Now that, as he claims, his offer has been turned down he says he is "done compromising" with these "greedy" players.
In reality of course, having sued the man in a dozen courts on two continents in a fight that is going into its sixth year, the former Warriors are now holding a signed order from the highest court in the country stating that they are owed $25 million and it would seem that the time for "compromise" is long over.
Even more outrageously, Warner has been claiming for years that the whole affair had nothing to do with him and their complaint was with the federation.
Then yesterday, he did a complete about-face and told the media that the whole thing was entirely on him, that he was the one who made the offer to the players and he cannot understand why they are suing the T&TFF and their former President, Oliver Camps.
This after years of fighting in court to keep his name off the lawsuit based on the fact that he had no "official position" with the federation, being listed only as a "special adviser". Even today he still isn't listed as one of the defendants.
And in a wildy absurd statement (link from the indefatigable Pablo Chicago) yesterday Warner outdid even himself:
Noting that he has a "clear conscience" he said that “This foolishness and this greed must stop" and assured everyone that he is still a very popular man in his country.
Evidence of the influence and power he still has is summed up by the stance taken by the Sports Minister, who says they are still - after six long years - "monitoring the situation" and are "keeping an open mind".
Everybody is due back in court on Tuesday.