SCA: ‘When he sends an apology, he needs to include a check’

SCA Promotions counsel says any apology from Armstrong over his 2005 arbitration should arrive with a $12 million payment

BOULDER, COLORADO (VN) — “Sorry” doesn’t pay the bills for disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong.

Lance Armstrong confessed to using performance enhancing drugs on Thursday night in a widely broadcast interview with Oprah Winfrey, but not all of his legal suitors were impressed.

“When he sends an apology, he needs to include a check for the money,” said Jeff Tillitson, a lawyer for SCA Promotions, a Texas-based company that’s looking to claw its money back from Armstrong over a once-contested bonus the company paid due to consecutive Tour wins. “He did do some good things but on the other hand it certainly doesn’t absolve him of having to face the music with people like us.”

SCA Promotions provides insurance against freak athletic achievements, like holes in one or, say, winning the Tour de France multiple times. SCA initially withheld a $5 million bonus due to Armstrong after he won the Tour for a sixth time in 2004. The company believed him to be on PEDs then, and tried to skirt its dues on those grounds, but was made to pay in the end. Now, the company wants its money back, and then some, to the tune of $12 million.

During the Winfrey interview aired on Thursday night, the talkshow host on multiple occasions directed attention to video of Armstrong’s deposition from the SCA hearings. Armstrong for the first time on Thursday admitted publicly that his testimony, taken under oath, was false.

“If you watch the video today and you look at it now, I think it’s fairly clear he was fidgeting and was too passionate in his denials,” Tillitson said. “I didn’t believe him but I was surprised how easy and persuasively he made those denials, and he didn’t just say, ‘I didn’t dope;’ he offered compelling, heart-wrenching reasons.”

There’s another wrinkle in all this: Armstrong may have committed perjury during the SCA arbitration when he denied having doped in a deposition he gave in an Austin, Texas, federal court on Nov. 30, 2005. The problem for SCA — and federal investigators? The courts aren’t likely to see it that way. Any sort of attack on Armstrong for perjury would likely be blocked by the statute of limitations.

“Under Texas law, it seems that the statute of limitations for perjury is two or three years. He’s likely off the hook on the perjury prosecution,” said Mark Stichel, a Baltimore-based attorney who has litigated civil cases in state and federal courts throughout the U.S.

It appears now that the post-confessional details weren’t entirely worked out and that the ever-calculated Armstrong is exposed, to a certain degree. That said, Armstrong in court is no pushover.

“I don’t expect he’s going to sit back and just start giving away money to people,” Stichel said to VeloNews last week. “I don’t think he’s had a personality transplant in the last few weeks. Whatever is in the works is something he and his advisors have calculated. He doesn’t do things spontaneously. He doesn’t do things on a whim.”