Jack Warner's wife to remain in US$37m Concacaf lawsuit over Centre of Excellence

Jack Warner  -
Jack Warner -

MAUREEN WARNER, wife of ex-Concacaf president Jack Warner and two of the family’s companies will join her husband and others in a US$37.8 million lawsuit against them over the ownership of the Dr Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence.

Mrs Warner, Renraw Investments Ltd and CCAM and Company Ltd sought to have Concacaf’s lawsuit against them struck out on the basis that it did not apply to them, as they had no fiduciary duty to the regional football body and the claims were statute-barred, since they related to facts dating back to 1995-2011, when the lawsuit was filed in 2016.

However, in a ruling on Monday, Justice Robin Mohammed dismissed the application by the three. He also set February 2 for a case-management conference so that directions can be given to progress the matter to trial.

In the claim, Concacaf contends that Warner, his wife and the companies were involved in a conspiracy to misappropriate Concacaf funds which were allocated to construct the facility, by misrepresenting that the facility was actually owned by Concacaf.

Concacaf also listed accountant Kenny Rampersad and his company as parties to the claim, as it contended that he had a conflict of interest by serving as the accountant for both Concacaf and the companies.

Rampersad contended that he provided secretarial services to the companies and claimed he did not owe Concacaf any fiduciary duty, as he merely served as an auditor.

In defence of the claim, Warner, who served as Concacaf president between 1990 and 2011, said he could not recall facts surrounding the deal, owing to Concacaf's delay in bringing the claim. He also denied that he and his wife had a controlling interest in the companies and challenged the arrangement as he denied that he misappropriated funds.

Mrs Warner contended she was never involved in the financing of the project.

Concacaf also filed similar proceedings against Warner in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

In July 2019, Concacaf obtained a US$20 million default judgment against Warner after he failed to attend hearings of the case or send legal representation.

Judge William F Kuntz entered judgement against Warner, who is facing extradition to the US in a separate criminal case.

Last month, Warner lost his challenge to his extradition to face a barrage of charges of racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, and bribery; and allegedly, from the early 1990s, he "began to leverage his influence and exploit his official positions for personal gain."

He also allegedly accepted a million-dollar bribe from South African officials in return for voting to award them the 2010 World Cup, and allegedly bribed officials with envelopes of cash.

In its US lawsuit, Concacaf alleged Warner victimised the body, stealing and defrauding it out of tens of millions of dollars in brazen acts of corruption. It sought US$20 million in compensatory damages and unspecified punitive damages, which included the cost of the Centre of Excellence, in Macoya, which is also the focus of the separate claim before Mohammed.

The lucrative property features a swimming complex, restaurants, a hotel, conference facilities, a gym and the Marvin Lee Stadium.

Issues over ownership of the property arose after Concacaf instituted an investigation into Warner and former president Chuck Blazer. That investigation was three years before the two were implicated in the US investigations into corruption at Fifa, for which Warner has been indicted by a grand jury.

Warner and the companies were represented by Senior Counsel Fyard Hosein, Sasha Bridgemohansingh and Anil Maraj. Rishi Dass and Maria Narinesingh are representing Warner's wife. Concacaf was represented by Jonathan Walker and Cherie Gopie.


"Jack Warner’s wife to remain in US$37m Concacaf lawsuit over Centre of Excellence"

More in this section