Betsy’s revenge

June 12, 2015 § 88 Comments

The handwriting is on the wall, it says “You are totally hosed,” and even Lance Armstrong can read it.

This is a moment to savor if you enjoy watching the mighty brought low. It’s a delicious experience like no other to read the lying, cheating, doping, scheming evildoer as he contemplates a most unheroic end, the end of bankruptcy, of utter ruin, of losing every single bit of his ill-gotten gains.

Betsy Andreu, the sworn enemy of the world’s most infamous cyclist, must surely have floating dinner reservations for the expected date of the jury verdict when Armstrong’s fraud case goes to trial. The case is so overwhelmingly against him that it’s hard to see any impartial jury finding in his favor.

He ripped off the government. He lied about it. He covered it up. Then … he admitted the entire fraud on television.

Juries are unpredictable, and of course no battle plan survives first contact with the enemy. Random chance may pull this one out of the fire simply because, as Mike Tyson famously said, “Everyone has a plan until you punch him in the face.” Maybe Lance’s lawyers will get in the first shot and it will be a haymaker.

Realistically, his fate in this case will be no different from his fate in the SCA Promotions fraud case. Judges and juries are repulsed by sociopaths when their lies are finally exposed, and the human instinct to punish the powerful is almost as strong as the urge to put them on the pedestal to begin with.

Of course, what’s happening to Lance is the grossest injustice, as the Ninth Circuit recently ruled in the case of another allegedly lying, corrupt, doped-up cheater who’s now a hobby cyclist by the name of Barry Bonds. The appeals court essentially held that a non-responsive answer to a question posed to a jock cannot be a criminal act. No shit.

By the time justice was served, Bonds had been required to do his time. So far, the Betsy Andreus of the baseball world are likewise smacking their lips in satisfaction, the joy of seeing evildoers punished. Unlike Lance, Bonds still gets to keep his millions, though.

Where Betsy and all the sanctimonious people “betrayed by Lance” have gone awry is by ignoring the ugly fact that the cheap actions of a self-admitted “dick” are the matters on which the criminal system devotes itself, when not one single person has seen a jail cell as the result of Wall Street’s takedown of the economy, its obstruction of justice, and its co-option of agencies created to protect the public from the worst criminals in our history–people who don’t pull triggers and who don’t shoot up elementary schools or movie theaters, but rather people who wreck the lives of millions and leave them to rot.

But don’t worry, because those same criminals have re-made their billions with taxpayer bailouts and with a surging stock market, recouping their losses in the “free market” and taxpayer-funded one. What’s that? You didn’t get rich during the bust? There’s a word for people like you, friend. It’s called “sucker.”

Hanging Lance from his ball passes for justice because it is great theater. It’s easy to hate the guy many used to love; it’s impossible to hate a Harvard MBA at a bank you’ve never even heard of. It’s easy to hate doping cheaters; it’s impossible to hate people who cheat with things you only vaguely even understand like mortgage backed securities and default credit swaps. It’s easy to put the “little” millionaire’s ass in a sling; it’s impossible for the entire SEC to win a single case against banks worth hundreds of billions.

Sports make great entertainment and greater crime. Think O.J., Lance, Barry, Marion, and now the granddaddy of them all, FIFA. Of course the targets in the FIFA investigation include people from wretchedly poor countries such as Bolivia, Trinidad and Tobago, and Nicaragua, corrupt and bribery-prone third world countries where the petty graft from FIFA is huge money. Not a single person from Switzerland, though …

These sporting crimes, on a global scale, are meaningless in the context of institutionalized money laundering and tax theft in corporate fraud havens like the Cayman Islands.

“I’ve heard of FIFA! Go get ’em!”

“The Cayman Islands? Where the hell is that, and why are you wasting my tax dollars on it?”

The hallmark of justice is not its ability to punish wrongdoers. Any fundamentalist crazy from ISIS with a Koran and a sword can do that. The hallmark of justice is refusing to exact total retribution on the small criminal while the big ones go free. When “No one is above the law” comes with the asterisk “Except the richest,” then you’d better take care, because your neck will soon be on the chopping block, too.

Betsy may have made dinner reservations for twelve in joyful anticipation of the final ruinous act in Lance’s tragic opera, but the satisfaction of revenge doesn’t make it just.



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§ 88 Responses to Betsy’s revenge

  • GT says:

    Aww Betsy.

    [quote]There’s a word for people you, friend. [/quote]

    Missing “like”?

  • JF says:


  • Mark says:

    Yes, life’s so unfair. It’s always the little people that get unjustly punished.

  • Gus C says:

    I agree with you 100%. When Lance’s charges came up, along with the vitriol reserved for the foulest of the foul, i thought to myself: this is fantastic theater worthy of a Mastroianni film. Then new AG Loretta Lynch decided to go after FIFA (rightly so, but come on), everyone hopped on the hate wagon and pinted fingers at soccer: “See? those sissies who prance around the grass and dive at the sight of danger, unlike our real football athletes, are all corrupt!”. Or “Lance should go to jail, be hanged, dude’s a dick, he got what he deserved, etc.”. Tho I agree with his full-circle kharma, the catharsis provided by scapegoating the media figures is a bit too much. I’ll exhale in relief when i see Dick Cheney and his cabal answering for every single of his deeds, as well as the bankers that trashed the nation. Alas, won’t happen. So let’s jail Lance instead. Pass the popcorn.

    • fsethd says:

      Better than jailing Lance, let’s slowly degrade him over the course of decades and watch as he is slowly ground up. But I hear that Jeb Bush is going to be president and that Dick Cheney will get another reign of terror.

  • dangerstu says:

    Hmm, so Floyd gets 33.3 million for whistle blowing, sounds about right…

  • Tom Paterson says:

    As a friend who must go nameless (because he’s a little guy with a little word-of-mouth business) , told me one day on a bike ride (where the light of day often shines bright): “Everybody* bought a ticket on the bus. Some of them could hang, and some of them couldn’t!”.

    *That “everybody” would include the UCI, The Press, advertisers grand and small, team owner/operators and staff, John Q Public, and the various team-member riders, along with their girlfriends and wives.

    “This party is getting too dirty for me!” exclaimed Sally, as she pulled up her underwear and headed for the door…

    • fsethd says:

      Witness, in a parallel universe, where Strauss-Kahn gets acquitted of prostitution charges, his fortune intact but his life and reputation in shambles. It was great theater while the great industrial money laundromat churned trillions.

    • podium_plywood says:

      “Everybody* bought a ticket on the bus.
      No. Lance was exempt from every rule ever wherever he showed up to ride. FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. Except we were all labeled ‘haters’ and the federation was a black box then too.

      Since his rise pre-dated widespread use of the Internet a bit, all of that history got mostly left behind.

      Funny how so little has changed.

      • fsethd says:

        Regardless of who bought a ticket, the bus has crashed. It’s not particularly tasteful to go through the wreckage shooting the survivors.

      • Tom Paterson says:

        Thank you for reading and commenting on my post.
        I don’t agree with anything you said.
        You will please excuse me if I let this drop at this point.

  • Jack Daugherty says:

    This is really, really good.

  • bejoneses says:

    It makes me wonder if society’s priorities could be any more f***ed up?

    • sibex9591 says:

      People go to jail in some states because their “Traffic” fine was sent to private handlers who tacked on excessive fees which were beyond the reach of the individual. Traffic. At that I would say we are as f***ed as we can be, but wait, I am pretty sure our d**ks can a lot farther up our collective arses.

      • fsethd says:

        Yes, and the tens of thousands in jail due to the criminal bail system, where you literally have to pay for your freedom with loans you can’t repay, which of course puts you in jail.

    • fsethd says:

      Sure! Just keep making the richest even richer. It will make today seem like the Garden of Eden.

  • Serge Issakov says:

    Either Lance’s gains were ill-gotten or they were not. If they were then him losing them is just. What others did or did not get away with is irrelevant. Law is one case at a time.

    Floyd broke omertà. At that point he had nothing to lose, but still his choice ultimately caused much of the corruption to be exposed. His potential gain here is Lottery-like, but you can’t blame him for how whistle blower laws are written.

    As far as I know Barry did not threaten or sue anyone or try to ruin anyone for pointing out his cheating. Not really an apt comparison with respect to the wheels of justice.

    • fsethd says:

      No one disagrees that he should lose his ill-gotten gains. I disagree that with our limited enforcement dollars he is a worthy target for justice as compared to Wall Street.

      Focusing on the micro, individual case turns you into the police officer who tells the hapless speeder, “I don’t care if everyone else was speeding, you’re the one I caught.”

      Focusing on the macro turns you into the legislator who asks why millions are being spent to enforce speeding on a freeway and nothing is spent to enforce crimes that wreck the economy.

      They are different arguments, and the media want us to focus on whether Lance was guilty. Of course he was. But why are you, or anyone, focusing on Lance, especially now that he is no longer tainting sport?

      The answer to that question is not a pleasant one, unfortunately!

      • Serge Issakov says:

        I would probably stop focusing on Lance if he would stop claiming he was and is treated unfairly.

        But more to the point, back during the OJ case I developed the following theory. The natural human social condition is the village with the village center where everyone known everyone else and gossips about everybody. The gossip is how we communicate and develop shared values. “Can you believe what so-and-so did? That’s so wonderful/wrong!” In modern society we don’t have villages. But we have the rich and famous. So we gossip about them. You can get in a taxi cab and immediately connect with the driver by discussing their widely known issues. Like OJ. And Lance. It’s how we develop consensus, sometimes, on right and wrong. These ultimately have broader implications. Caitlyn Jenner, for example, is single-handedly making trangender more acceptable in our society. The OJ case helped raise awareness about law enforcement image problems in black communities. With Lance we’re still struggling to decide just what he did and how bad it is and what should be done about it. There are people who are posting here who are still arguing, at least implicitly, that what he did was not so bad because it was not any different from what his competitors were doing. To me it seems clear there is more to talk about. It seems clear to you as well; we are talking about your blog.

        Should we be more worried with what’s going on in the financial world? Probably so. But would we if we stopped focusing on Lance? I doubt it.

        • fsethd says:

          That’s an interesting take. I don’t have the space to adequately respond, but our focus is determined by what we are told to focus on, or rather by the different options we are given to focus on.

  • TheRaceRadio says:

    Betsy and I had no choice but to fight for our honesty and decency. Lance tried to take us down and destroy our family. You know there were things that happened in the past when we were all friends and lovers, between Lance and me, Betsy and Lance. It doesn’t make it right. Live with vengeance in your heart. Twitter me.

    • TheRealTruth says:

      LOL. Now TheRaceRadio is portraying himself as a victim of Lance. It looks like someone wants to hop on the professional victim bandwagon that is being driven by Betsy.

      An article needs to be written about the origin of Betsy’s feud with Armstrong. It was never about doping. That was just a convenient weapon for her to use. It was always about money.

      • fsethd says:

        Who is The Race Radio? I have seen his/her name for years and have always wondered about the anonymity.

      • TheRaceRadio says:

        The Real Truth is that there are lots of victims of Lance. He conned me. And yeah it wasn’t about cycling and it wasn’t about doping and it wasn’t even about money. You don’t mess with your best friend’s lady and then think you get away with it. Not with me. Who do you think tipped Floyd on the whistle blower’s deal? Betray me and you pay big time. This is almost over for Betsy and me. We’ll be moving on. Lance has had his last secret midnight ride. Follow me on Twitter. I’m done with the sockpuppets on cn.

      • The funny thing about anonymous an comments section is anyone can post pretending to be me. This guy portraying himself as a victim of Lance is not me, just some weirdo stalker

        • fsethd says:

          Okay. I’ve compared emails and IP Addresses, and they’re different. His is,, located in Belgium, Vlaams-Braban, in the city of Heverlee.

          Pretty cool that anonymous people have their own stalkers!

        • fsethd says:

          If he’s a weirdo, a stalker, or the bi-fecta, a weirdo stalker, he certainly found the right blog to hang out at.

    • fsethd says:

      I have no feeling of feelings of vengeance towards anyone. What the guy did was wrong and he’s being punished for it.

      1. Does the punishment fit the crime?
      2. Is the enforcement regime just?

      • I agree, I have no need for any vengeance. I doubt Betsy does either.

        As for the punishment. The legal issues Lance is currently facing are not sporting sanctions, they are contract law. The case SCA has against him is very strong and the courts have agreed. If SCA was your client would you have advised them to not pursue Lance?

        Lance’s settlement with Acceptance insurance, London Sunday Times, and his loss to SCA are not popularity contests, they are clear cut cases of fraud.

        It is painful to watch the legal path Lance is taking. He should have settled with SCA and the Feds years ago but hubris has led him to fight. It will not end well and I will find no joy in that.

        The Real Race Radio

        • fsethd says:

          I think I made it clear that he has done wrong and is legally liable. SCA Promotions and the London Sunday Times are private entities who can sue anyone for anything, and if they prevail it’s because they had the better case.

          The False Claims Act is a completely different beast. It is an allocation of very scarce enforcement dollars. Try to get DOJ to open a case sometime. They weight cases based on an analysis of the probability that they will prevail, seriousness of the crime, and the impact of a victory or a conviction.

          The last factor, which is essentially media exposure, is what’s driving Lance’s case. US Postal’s damages are nonexistent; they received the full benefit of their bargain, and then some. If in addition to Lance’s case DOJ and the SEC had opened a hundred cases against Wall Street criminals then the taxpayer would recoup hundreds of billions if not trillions, and I’d be happy to see them take on Lance as well.

          But please recall that Wall Street made hundreds of billions from the scam. Then they made hundreds of billions in the bust. Then they made hundreds of billions in the recovery. Parts I and II were funded by you and me. The total is now in the trillions. You can call it anything you want, but please don’t call it justice.

          This is exactly what goes on in poor neighborhoods. High allocation of enforcement dollars where blacks live, so high convictions and lots of jail time. NO enforcement in rich neighborhoods like Palos Verdes, so rich white kids can commit all the same crimes and receive no punishment. The individual black kid busted for meth is guilty. But when the same guilty white kid doesn’t get prosecuted, Houston, we have a problem.

      • Serge Issakov says:

        This Race Radio sounds like the real Race Radio. I told Betsy about this piece and her comment after checking it out was that the earlier post from “The Race Radio” did not sound like the one she knew. I bet she told him about it.

      • umster says:

        you’re f’in awesome, Seth. Too bad so many people don’t want to hear what you’re saying.

        • fsethd says:

          Thanks! Sometimes it’s hard to hear facts amidst the chatter of long and fiercely held opinions.

  • dan martin says:

    The economic collapse effected everyone, and many never recovered. The bailouts fixed the insurance companys and bankers but ruined the shareholders in Chase among others. Most people could give 2 shits about LA and the small circle he effected. Everyone with half a brain knows cycling and sports in general are dirty. We clap as a select few in sports get nailed to the cross while the real big fish continue to enjoy their fat meals.

  • devin says:

    Well done. Wall Street figured out decades ago that in house counsel needed legal skills only obtained from prior service at the SEC. And SEC attorneys saw Wall Street job offers increase as they beat up the small guys that were poaching the big guys business. If FIFA had let ex-DOJ staffers negotiate payoffs, and the Giants had offered to let Jeff Novitzky play first base, think of the headlines that could have been avoided.

  • Mike Hancock says:

    The worst punishment for Lance is for everyone to ignore him after the money is gone.
    He should be ignored to the full extent of the law.

    • fsethd says:

      Ha, ha! I think as long as those ignoring him include the DOJ and Floyd’s lawyers, he would be very happy with that.

  • Tamar T. says:

    If not for Lance, I would not be a cyclist, and I wouldn’t be a cycling fan. Therefore, I wouldn’t know you, and more importantly, I wouldn’t be a subscriber to the blog and a purchaser of your books. So, Yay, Lance! Sucks to be him right now, but Floyd is a douche who hurt a lot of people himself (Bahati and his entire team) and I hope he doesn’t get a dime.

  • naturallysmoothlegs says:

    Well, to be fair, if anyone has a right to dance and relieve themselves on lance’s grave it’s Betsy. She could have kept her mouth shut, instead she refused to violate her moral code and tell the truth about arguably the most popular athlete on the planet. Is that not commendable? He and his yellow bracelet army went after her HARD. She didn’t budge. Have you ever seen the comments of any article before he confessed mentioning betsy? You would have seen the most vile, misogynistic crap spewed at her. Every time he and his army threw a punch, she took it got back up and gave it right back. She was outnumbered until the oprah interview. So yeah, she deserves to bathe in the long overdue spectacle of lance’s comeuppance.

    The way her message came off didn’t have the polish of a PR firm backing her, but her honesty was nothing short of extraordinary.

    • fsethd says:

      I agree 100% with everything you said up until the “deserves to bathe in” part. More on that later, tomorrow perhaps.

      She is an extremely courageous and tough person, period.

      However, so was Thomas Paine, but he also happened to be a complete asshole.

      But yes, her actions were commendable and her courage extraordinary. Can’t say the same for douchebag The Race Radio who hides behind his anonymous moniker. What a chickenass. Lots of strong opinions hidden behind the skirts of a strong woman. Asswipe of the Year after Oleg Dickov.

  • 900aero says:

    The first problem I have with the lawsuit against Lance is the apparent lack of damage.

    How can anyone claim to have been they were damaged when the money flowed and reputations/brands triumphed? Fraud may have occured and individuals like the Andreus and the LeMonds treated very poorly: but I don’t see how anyone who sponsored Lance can claim to have been damaged by that arrangement. Further perhaps, Trek and Oakley etc (who paid quite a bit – and made quite a bit) are at least savvy enough not to take this to court and (so far anyway) just draw a line under the whole episode. Perhaps the govt lawyers/office bearers are worried that unless they nail Lance someone else will point out that they signed up, they paid and they profited – which would be an uncomfortable moment. Or have I missed something ?

    The second problem is the social context, as you’ve eloquently noted Seth.

    • Tom Paterson says:

      I’m not sure exactly where this “sponsorship money” came from, either. The USPS hasn’t been a true USA gov’t entity since what, 1969?
      I can tell you that one particular “main” USPS station didn’t have any US Postal Team “stuff” up during one Posties TdF winning effort– and that in Lance Armstrong’s adopted hometown of Austin, Texas! One of the serfs I mean workers told me, when I asked “How come, what’s the deal?” that they’d been forbidden to display any of that material. Wow, I guess that would have like, had a positive effect on morale or something, huh? Last thing we want in post-Reagan, Bad Management America. But, I digress, and the right person or persons must have complained, because some of those “Delivering the Mail” advertising materials did eventually go on display, if at a loss of timely advertising advantage to the USPS, of course.
      Well, no, I don’t digress because the theme here is the same, “Workers bad, bosses good”, or there would be true bosses named at the top of this action, not just a field commander/henchman– who many people have called, effectively, “stupid” and was probably not the real brains behind the schemes.

    • Serge Issakov says:

      The damage claimed in the lawsuit, as I understand it, is the loss of $30M (?) the USPS paid to the USPS team. It’s a damage because that money was obtained fraudulently – under the false pretense of competing fairly.

      Whether the USPS got $30M worth of marketing value from that deal is irrelevant to the case. If he had competed fairly then there would be no damages even if USPS business did not benefit at all from the sponsorship. The flip-side is that since he competed unfairly the collection of the $30M is fraudulent, and subject to being returned, with interest, apparently.

      “Under the False Claims Act, citizens can act as whistleblowers and sue to recover money they believe was obtained through fraud against the federal government. ”

      • 900aero says:

        Ok, that could make sense – as long as there is a clause in the contract which stipulates against the things that Armstrong has confessed to. If not, no fraud has occurred. However it may be that there were some general terms & wordings which are now being pulled together to construct a case of fraud.

        Why the jump from $30m in refunds up to $100 in damages? I think I know the answer but it still doesn’t bear much weight to me.

        Does anyone have a copy of the actual case being lodged against Armstrong and ideally, the contract it hinges on ( not just more media commentary) ?

      • 900aero says:

        Serge: just to be clear, I hope it didn’t seem that I was dismissing the CBS article you linked to – which is quite balanced and detailed – but I was more asking if there is some of the actual case details floating around. I appreciated your comment and link.

      • fsethd says:

        If someone obtains $100 from you under false pretenses, and they use that $100 to make you $300, which you do in fact make, you have not sustained damages. And with no damages there is no fraud.

      • MCB says:

        To answer the $30m to $100m question – the basic rule is, that with whistleblower cases on behalf of the gov’t, damages may be as much as triple the amount of alleged fraud.

      • Serge Issakov says:

        Much is explained if you read about the False Claims Act.

        The Act establishes liability when any person or entity improperly receives from or avoids payment to the Federal government (tax fraud is excepted). The Act prohibits:

        Knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented a false claim for payment or approval;
        Knowingly making, using, or causing to be made or used, a false record or statement material to a false or fraudulent claim;
        Conspiring to commit any violation of the False Claims Act;
        Falsely certifying the type or amount of property to be used by the Government;
        Certifying receipt of property on a document without completely knowing that the information is true;
        Knowingly buying Government property from an unauthorized officer of the Government, and;
        Knowingly making, using, or causing to be made or used a false record to avoid, or decrease an obligation to pay or transmit property to the Government.

        • fsethd says:

          The issue isn’t liability. It’s damages, which is an element separate from liability. No one disputes that he made a false claim. They dispute whether the government was damaged, i.e. whether it lost money as a result.

      • It is important to note the way damages are calculated in a Qui Tam case. The damage calculation is not based on if USPS received a benefit it is based on how much WOULD USPS have paid if they knew the team was doping.

        Most government contracts have restrictions as to HOW the service or product can be provided. For example the contract could say that you provide a widget to the Gov but you are not allowed to use child labor to produce it. If you provide the widget but use child labor to manufacture it anyways your are in trouble.

        USPS had a very clear position. Tailwind was not allowed to dope and if they found doping on the team there were clear actions the team had to take. Tailwind ignored this contractual obligation and doped anyways, while hiding it from USPS.

        Lance’s goal is to show that USPS was fully aware of the doping but paid anyways. He has an uphill battle to prove this. If he had a smoking gun he would have made it public by now. He is banking on digging up something in discovery and hoping for a friendly jury. It is a huge risk.

        While I agree with Seth that there are many more important targets for the Government then Lance but I can also understand why they are targeting him. The Government’s case is very, very strong. They stand to pocket millions from this with little outlay. For them it seems to be a worthwhile investment.

        Armstrong has had several chances to settle with the government but has tried to low ball them. In the process their case has gotten stronger and stronger. If Lance pulls this off it will be his greatest victory

        *Note, I do not think Lance’s doping is equal to child labor, just using it as an example*

        • fsethd says:

          Citation, please. That is not correct.

          Where the goods or services received by the government have a market value, that amount is then compared to the market value the product would have had it met the government’s requirements. Where the goods or services did not provide any tangible benefit, and any intangible benefit cannot be valued, as, for example, where the government funded scientific research, damages to the government are measured by the amount the government paid for the false claim, U.S. ex rel. Feldman v. van Gorp, 697 F.3d 78, 87-88 (2d Cir. 2012); see, U. S. ex. rel Longhi, 575 F. 3rd 2009); United States v. Science Applications Int’l Corp., 626 F.3rd 1257, 1279 (D.C. Cir 2010).

          Had Lance’s services met the government’s requirements, i.e., been achieved clean, their value would have been wholly unchanged, as we can see from the continuing high value of Tour victories to other sponsors of admitted cheaters such as Rasmussen, Contador, Ullrich, and every other winner in Tour history, ever. The idea that dopers provide less value to sponsors in cycling than clean riders is wrong; they provide more–hence the approval of team and sponsors of the bad acts of their riders under the guise of plausible deniability.

          Your other huge assertion, unsupported, is that the DOJ gets a lot of money for a small investment. Where is your calculation of the amount of money this investigation has cost so far? And you have to include the costs of the dropped criminal investigation as well, not to mention an appeal.

          Of course you can always settle a claim by paying close to the full amount and getting a litigation discount, but have you seen the actual offers and counteroffers? “Lowballing” is a pejorative term (pun unavoidable) that one side uses to denigrate the other side’s offer. You’ve also ignored Lance’s net worth. How much is it? What can he really afford? What kind of arrangement does he have with lawyers to pay attorney fees?

          This discussion takes the eye off the ball anyway (there it is again). I wrote to condemn the completely, outrageously unjust allocation of resources while the worst criminals of our lifetime walk free and live enriched lives with tax money. Compared to that enforcement action which of course never happened and never will, Lance’s prosecution, by Floyd of all people, is a twisted and sick joke. People who think it’s fair or fun are the same ones who used to go to public hangings.

          • Tom Paterson says:

            (“Public hangings” reference)
            Yes, this is a cheap, safe sideshow. A total setup, where the gov’t employees, I would wager, are entirely aware of what they are doing.
            My instructor in gov’t class called it “making sausage”, selling ground-up what-not to an uninformed, gullible audience. And in this case, as usual, taking on a victim (that would be “Lance Armstrong”) who is not in a position to fight back.

            Where oh where is this white-hot sense of moral outrage when it comes to people having their homes and life savings stolen from them?
            “Too big to prosecute”? That’s the real deal.

            Probably way too late, but Lance needs a pardon, and poor Floyd needs a few million to pay the lawyers and have enough left for a homestead and a new car and some kind of income (maybe via a bottled water endorsement) commensurate with what he might have had before being (effectively) thrown under the bus for doing the same thing most of them were doing.


      • Serge Issakov says:

        I don’t get it. The False Claims Act prohibits, “Knowingly presenting, or causing to be presented a false claim for payment or approval”.

        So if Armstrong knowingly presented a “false claim for payment”, he has violated the Act, right? And if the “claim for payment” is false, isn’t he liable for returning it, plus interest and penalties?

        If his claim for payment was based on a contract where he certified that he was riding clean and understood he was not able to claim payment if he cheated (I’m presuming the wording essentially said something that effect), then that’s a false claim, isn’t it?

        • fsethd says:

          You’re conflating liability, which is one element of the claim, with damages, which is separate. Law school is now over.

      • Serge Issakov says:

        Okay, but if a claim for payment is false, isn’t the payment a damage?

        USPS paid to sponsor a clean team. The team was not clean. Therefore USPS did not get what they paid for. Isn’t the amount they paid considered damages?

        • fsethd says:

          That’s what they allege. But is that what USPS was paying for, a clean team? Or were they paying for media exposure that would raise their profile through a successful team in the world of pro cycling?

          If the latter, they got exactly what they bargained for. If the former, why were they in pro sports at all?

      • Serge Issakov says:

        The state of pro sports in general and pro cycling in particular in terms of doping is much better understood by the public today than in 1999. Back then the Festina Affair was largely thought to be an aberration and the sport was finally cleaned up. You can’t compare the knowledge and cynicism today to that in 1999. USPS would probably not touch pro cycling today.

        The sobering “List of doping cases in cycling” article on Wikipedia was not even created until 2008; almost 10 years after USPS started their sponsorship.

        Here’s another thing to consider. When the USPS sponsors a team they are endorsing that team and its riders. It’s reasonable to not want to endorse cheaters. How can they do that? The only way, so far as I can tell, is by paying them per a contract contingent on clean riding. By allowing them to keep the money after they’re caught removes one of the most effective anti-doping mechanisms we have.

      • Serge Issakov says:

        Did the other sponsors have a morals clause in their contracts?

        “Landis alleged that the USPS contract had a morals clause that expressly forbade use or distribution of testosterone and steroids and that the team’s contract was fraudulently induced because members knew they would not comply with the morals clause when they signed the deal.”

        • fsethd says:

          So you think they contracted with him to provide morals and were damaged when he behaved immorally?

          This is a liability issue you’re focused on, not damages. They are separate. No offense, but I’m not up for further parsing the legal fundamentals on this.

          It’s like when my engineer friends try to explain to me the formula for acceleration and they give up after the fifth attempt. It’s not my forte!

      • Serge Issakov says:

        I was on a jury case once. Lady slipped and fell on a hotel bathroom floor. Suing the hotel for medical bills, etc. First question on the jury form asked if the hotel was negligent. Many on the jury felt we should award “something” to the woman, but the only way to those questions of damages was by answering affirmatively to the first question of liability. I was the one who had to explain this to them. We didn’t have any lawyers in the room… Luckily you don’t have to go to law school to get the basics, which is all I’m asking about here.

        “So you think they contracted with him to provide morals and were damaged when he behaved immorally?

        Let’s not get carried away with the significance of name of that clause in the contract, but yeah, ONE of the stipulations in the contract was that the riders obey the rules. Since they did not obey the rules (and Armstrong eventually lost the titles), USPS did not receive what they contracted for – the team competing in compliance with the rules. So the amount they paid is a damage, isn’t it?

        I mean, if I buy a bike and it’s delivered without a frame, wheels, brakes or drive system, what are my damages? The price I paid, minus, I suppose, the value of the parts I can sell on ebay.

        In this case I think the argument can be made that they got nothing since Armstrong was (ultimately) effectively disqualified, and he is 100% liable for that disqualification. It’s like he wasn’t even there. So what did they contact for that they got?

        • fsethd says:

          The benefit they sought to have conferred was not clean competition. They sought positive media exposure during the term of their contract, and received it.

          So they were not harmed and suffered no damages.

          What happened to Armstrong years after the contract terminated is irrelevant. They received the benefit of the bargain.

      • Serge Issakov says:

        Okay, but that’s a defense based on standard contract that that would work against a claim from Nike, Trek, etc., right? It recognizes no distinction from a case where the False Claims Act applies, yes? I mean, if applying standard contract law applies sufficiently to government contracts, what the point of having the False Claims Act?

        Okay, so based on 30 seconds of research, this seems to come down to whether this is a mischarge case or an overcharge case, and it sounds like an overcharge case.

        Under overcharges, which “occurs when the government receives goods or services of less value than intended”, “the measure of the government’s damages in an overcharge case is the difference between the amount paid and the amount that would have been paid if the claims were truthful”

        Okay, if Armstrong was truthful and admitted he would be doped to the gills, what is the amount the government would have paid?

  • Serge Issakov says:

    I’ll look to verify later, but my understanding is that this is not an ordinary fraud case but a whistleblower case. Damages are calculated differently when fraud with Uncle Sam is involved, apparently. That’s why Trek, Nike and Radio Shack have no cases.

    For example, if you sell clothes that you claim have UV protection but don’t, customers can claim damages if they got damages (like skin cancer) and can prove it’s probably because of the clothing. However, if the clothing was uniforms for the government including, say, for postal workers, and your disgruntled ex-employee Wanky reveals the fraud in a whistleblower case under whistleblower law, that’s totally different. In that case you’re f-ed and Wanky gets one-third. Again, my understanding.

    Also, I also have not verified because it makes so much sense I don’t think it’s necessary – whistleblower cases are confidential to protect the whistleblower.

    Having said all that I would think the applicability of the whistleblower law would be in question here. I mean USPS is quasi-government. They operate independently and compete in the marketplace. And that’s why they sponsored the team. Pure government entities don’t do that (wait, what about Astana?). But if I’m not mistaken Armstrong already tried to dismiss on those grounds and lost. I’m not sure of the details but I believe the whistleblower law has been legally determined to apply here. That lowers the bar considerably on what constitutes fraise and relaxes how damages our calculated.

    Lesson: don’t screw over Uncle Sam.

    • Serge Issakov says:

      Fraise = fraud

    • Serge Issakov says:

      All this makes me wonder. Aren’t there employees within the financial industry that could file suits under the whistleblower law if they can prove their employer did something fraudulent that lead to collecting government money, if indeed such fraud occurred? It strikes me that the whistleblower law is written precisely to encourage such insider-oversight, especially since the whistleblower is entitled to 1/3rd (or 1/4th), which in theory could amount to billions in these cases.

      Seth: find one client like that and you can retire!

      • Tom Paterson says:

        If you live, of course.

      • Serge Issakov says:

        Seriously, for all of the alleged crimes you’d think somebody would be willing to risk filing a claim that could reap billions.

        My impression is that nobody actually did anything illegal. I thought the whole real estate market got distorted because banks were not allowed to refuse loans in certain high risk cases, loans that were ultimately backed up by the government because they were forced to take them. There was a domino effect and hugely inflated prices that eventually blew up. Where is the crime?

  • Serge Issakov says:

    Doesn’t the claim for $30M payment being false make it $30M in damages? Plus interest?

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