Lance Armstrong’s attorney Tim Herman released a statement Thursday to try to explain the apparent contradiction between Armstrong’s remarks Wednesday and a deposition he gave in 2005.
As reported on VeloNews.com Wednesday, Armstrong told reporters at the Tour de France that he was never a part owner of Tailwind Sports Corp., the company that owned the U.S. Postal Service team.
“I didn’t own the company. I didn’t have a position. I didn’t have an equity stake. I didn’t have a seat on the board. I was a rider on the team. I can’t be any clearer than that,” Armstrong said.
The remarks seem to contradict Armstrong’s testimony in a 2005 deposition in the Armstrong v. SCA Promotions suit. In the November, 2005, deposition, Armstrong said he had a small stake in the company, “perhaps ten percent,” but wasn’t sure when he took the share.
Attorney Tim Herman said late Wednesday that Armstrong received his first share in Tailwind in December 2007.
“The confusion on the timing, which is not new, stems from the fact that the Board of Directors of Tailwind decided in 2004 to approve the issuance of shares of Tailwind stock to Lance and others,” Herman said. “Although the Board of Directors told the intended recipients in 2004 that the stock would be issued, the stock was not actually awarded to Lance and the others until December 2007. Thus, when Lance was asked questions about it in 2005, he truthfully answered that he believed he was a small minority owner in Tailwind but did not know or understand the details. Those details were finalized in December of 2007.”
Herman said the questions about the timing are “an attempt to create the proverbial mountain out of a molehill. There is simply no story — Tailwind was operated in a legal, legitimate manner and Lance was a rider for Tailwind, not a manager.”
Armstrong’s position with Tailwind, and thus with the USPS team, would be relevant if federal prosecutors try to charge the team’s management with defrauding the Postal Service by engaging in a systematic doping program, as alleged by former USPS team member Floyd Landis. Several news organizations have cited anonymous sources familiar with the investigation indicating that investigators were focusing on team management, not riders. The New York Times and the New York Daily News each reported this week that a federal grand jury had issued subpoenas in the probe.
Armstrong and team manager Johan Bruyneel have vigorously denied Landis’ claims and any suggestion that they were involved with doping.