Jack Warner is probably pretty bored down there in Port of Spain.
The world's rich and powerful, who used to regularly drop in to kiss his ring and pad his bankroll, would now rather be photographed with a bed full of 12 year old hookers and a couple ounces of blow than be caught shaking hands with the Pirate of the Caribbean.
And the former cabinet minister who not that long ago controlled his country's ruling political party as well as its military and police forces and public works projects doesn't even hold a seat in Parliament anymore, having been turned out of office by his former slavishly devoted constituents.
Jack has become a dead mouse on his country's kitchen floor, a toxic national embarrassment for a country which is struggling mightily to overcome a reputation as a haven for drug money, corruption and lawlessness.
So except for lugging his folding chair a few blocks to his local senior center for the weekly Pickleball tournament - which, in truth, doesn't quite measure up to the cushy leather executive seats in the VVIP suite at World Cup finals to which he is accustomed - his life, like that of most old retired guys, is probably pretty uneventful.
(Is there some kind of formal dinner or something when you retire from 30 years in the kleptomania business? Maybe present you with a stolen gold watch? A bunch of speeches from your fellow thieves saying how much they're going to miss stealing stuff with you?)
Fortunately, he's got enough money left to indulge in what some people refer to as the Rich Man's Hobby: suing people, and currently he says he's had enough "defamation and slander" from Sunil Gulati and he wants $40 million to compensate him for the pain and humiliation.
He also says he's suing CONCACAF, but he announced that he's going after Gulati in his "personal capacity" as the "de jure" President of the Confederation instead Canadian Victor Montagliani who, according to Warner, is the "de facto" President.
(Yes, he got that backwards, but don't be a showoff.)
Now it's true that when Montagliani speaks you can barely see Sunil's lips move most of the time, - although it would be a little less obvious if he wasn't always sitting on Gulati's lap with a hand up his back - but as far as anyone can recall, Gulati has never uttered a single negative word about Warner.
In fact, I railed on the guy for years over him NOT talking about Warner; as a sophisticated professional economist, serving on the CONCACAF ExCo, he saw every single financial statement. He can't claim he didn't know what he was looking at. He can't claim he wasn't aware of at least the broad outlines (if not the nitty gritty details) of the massive criminal fraud and conspiracy ring that Warner and Blazer were orchestrating.
But of course he never has denied it, mostly by refusing to address it, then, now or in the foreseeable future. He was, is and likely shall remain, "Silent Sunil" except when he's being interviewed for the 400th time by a slobbering Grant Wahl ("Gosh Sunil, what makes you so wonderful? And how did you like the wax job I did on your car?")
But I digress. Sort of.
Longtime followers of this space - God bless you - will recall that I too was threatened with a lawsuit over stuff I said about Jack Warner, although in contrast I really did say some rather unflattering - albeit true - things about him. I posted the letter I got from the attorney ordering me to "cease and desist" my Jack-defaming or suffer the consequences, although I have no idea any more how to find or link to that article.
We passed the letter around here at BigSoccer World Headquarters and everybody had a good laugh, but nobody took it seriously for the same reason that Sunil (I wonder if he'd be up for getting some jackets made) is likely doing the same thing:
Because Jack Warner would have to be deposed on the record and under oath. Not. Going. To. Happen.
In any case, the real reason Jack is angry now is that CONCACAF filed an actual lawsuit against him and Chuck Blazer for $20 million so, as he says, he's counter suing for twice that.
I don't understand why he stopped there: he might as well have demanded fifty trillion dollars, since he's a) never getting a dime and b) his case, if he does file it - he hasn't yet - will never see the inside of a courtroom. It's all just hot air.
The CONCACAF suit, however, is more interesting. They blah blah blah on about money laundering and loss of revenue and damage to their precious reputation (as if THAT was ever something to be proud of), but in truth they don't expect to see dime one either.
They filed a lawsuit for the exact same reason that FIFA did, just last Fall. They too rambled on about, among other things, their loss of reputation (apparently they wrote that with a straight face) and a bunch of other nonsense but also tossed in the theft of the former Joao Havelange Center of Excellence, which Warner still has and for which FIFA was fleeced for around $25 million.
They don't expect Warner to pay up either, win or lose (and again, that suit is unlikely to ever progress to a courtroom). For one thing, most of Warner's assets are reportedly squirreled away in the Cayman Islands where former banker and possible future cell mate Jeff Webb was his bag man.
As for the CoE, the last thing either FIFA or CONCACAF wants is ownership of the place, which is now a badly neglected (you really think he's investing money in upkeep?) pile of peeling paint, broken plumbing, crumbling asphalt, leaky roofs and unmowed soccer fields.
It's only use now is for weddings and flea markets, and I just don't think Gianni Infantino has much interest in running a cheap venue rental agency. Otherwise, it has virtually no value on the real estate market; you likely would have difficulty finding a serious party who would take it off your hands for nothing.
The attached Sportel Hotel is still operating but guest reviews talk about torn up carpeting, mold, lack of water, peeling wallpaper and critters living in the walls.
So the obvious question is why on Earth is anyone bothering to sue this dirty old crook when there's almost no chance of realizing a penny?
The answer is simple: the US Department of Justice.
Two reasons: first because it's important for both CONCACAF and FIFA to maintain their current official status as "victims" of Warner, Blazer et al. If they lose that somehow, the DoJ will start coming after them as well.
Secondly, because in the process of prosecuting and pleading out the various parties - Traffic and all their executives, Blazer, Webb, the rest - the Feds have accumulated a big - we're talking Scrooge McDuck taking a swim size - pile of money which is now estimated at around $200 million.
And everybody is getting in line to make a claim on some of it.
So CONCACAF sued Warner and Blazer not because they figured they'd make them pay but because they figure it will help them leverage a pile of cash when the DoJ starts distributing some of the money they're holding to the "victims".
Jack may or may not understand that, and he's suing because - well, it's entertaining. It's way better than mulching the roses and waiting for the stool softener to kick in,
As for the endless criminal prosecution of Austin "Jack" Warner:
It's true that every now and again there's a court hearing scheduled on whether Trinidad & Tobago ought to comply with that pesky US Department of Justice extradition request, and the thought of being stuffed on a plane by US Marshals and whisked off to explain his career of theft, bribery and corruption to a Federal judge who's not available for sale or rent must surely intrude on the enjoyment of his afternoon naps.
In theory the question is now supposed to be decided at a hearing in July but this same hearing has been delayed roughly 11,000 times and nobody will be surprised if his lawyers manage to get it kicked down the road once again. As much as Warner has become an embarrassment to his fellow Trinidadians, the US is not much more popular and the government is loath to take sides.
Plus of course Jack still has enough money salted away that he can easily afford the price of a few judges and politicians, even if they have to hold their noses when they take it and, frankly, in T&T they're just not that pricey anyway.
His biggest potential light at the end of the tunnel came when Donald Trump won the US Presidential election, which meant that Loretta Lynch, the American prosecutor who began all of this back in Brooklyn and then became Attorney General, would no longer be overseeing the FIFA cases. It was thought in some circles that the DoJ would lose their enthusiasm for chasing around after international soccer executives.
Those hopes have been crushed utterly. The FBI and Justice are, if anything, tightening the screws on these guys to the point that a whole new batch of indictments are about to break and the biggest fish of all is now sitting with the Feds spilling the last - and biggest - batch of Sepp Blatters beans. But that's a mystery for another day.
For right now, it's enough to say that the US is pushing as hard as ever in the effort to see Jack Warner standing before a judge and jury in a US courtroom. Even he knows that once he sets foot on US soil he's seen the last daylight he'll ever see in his life not filtered through bars, chain link fence and barbed wire.