Verified creditors of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA), including former coaches and technical directors like Stephen Hart, Anton Corneal, Dennis Lawrence and Kendall Walkes, must wait for another three weeks to find out if their deal with the local football body will stand.
Today, the Port of Spain High Court agreed to adjourn the hearing of the TTFA’s repayment proposal to its creditors—filed under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act—to instead address appeals by disgraced former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner and the controversial British duo of coach Terry Fenwick and salesman Peter Miller.
Warner, who is represented by attorneys Rekha Ramjit and Nera Narine, and Fenwick and Miller, jointly represented legally by Kiev Chesney and Chelsea Chesney, are challenging the decision of the TTFA’s Trustee, Maria Daniel, to ignore their claims—on the premise that it was not properly supported by documentary evidence.
The TTFA’s Trustee is represented by Kerwyn Garcia and Chrishaunda Baboolal while the case is before Justice Devindra Rampersad.
Warner, who quit Fifa in 2011 while embroiled in a bribery scandal with presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam, claims to be owed TT$22.7m by the TTFA, which is more than 400% higher than the sum owed to the local football body’s highest recognised creditor, Hart.
The former TTFA special advisor’s case allegedly leans heavily on a letter of indebtedness offered to him by late former football president Raymond Tim Kee.
Ironically, Warner faces a string of racketeering charges by the US Department of Justice which includes claims that he improperly enriched himself at the expense of not only Fifa and the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) but the TTFA as well.
In the case of Fenwick and Miller, they insist that they are due TT$4.5m and TT$3.96m respectively, based on contracts offered by former TTFA president William Wallace. Both Englishmen allegedly made the deals without the knowledge of the TTFA Board.
The TTFA Constitution states that the Board “shall pass decisions on all cases that do not come within the sphere of responsibility of the General Meeting or are not reserved for other bodies by law or under this Constitution” and “shall appoint the coaches for the representative teams and other technical staff”. (Article 36 a and j.)
However, the Constitution simultaneously declares, in article 39.1, that “the president represents TTFA legally.”
It meant that, arguably, Wallace’s secret contract to Fenwick and Miller was against the spirit of the Constitution without necessarily being invalid.
However, according to a source, Daniel was privy to a trail of emails from Fenwick and Miller that placed significant doubt on the legality of their contracts.
Daniel’s judgment on the three matters will now be weighed by Justice Rampersad on 26 September.
The case is key to the immediate future of the local football body. If the TTFA was found to be correct in snubbing the claims of Warner, Fenwick and Miller, the Fifa-appointed normalisation committee will receive a US$3m loan by an unnamed guarantor to settle its debts at a rate agreed with its verified creditors.
The TTFA’s creditors will then receive 60 cents on every dollar owed.
However, if Warner, Fenwick and Miller prevail in court, the TTFA will be forced to drop its offer to between 30 and 40 cents on the dollar to creditors. If this reduced deal is not accepted, it could lead to the bankruptcy of the local football body.