FORMER national football coach Russell Latapy has withdrawn a lawsuit against the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) for more than $5 million in compensation after both parties arrived at an out-of-court settlement.
Latapy had filed action against the TTFA in October of 2011 after claiming the money represented the salary owed to him and compensation for being wrongfully dismissed.
When the matter came up for hearing before Justice Frank Seepersad at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain yesterday, attorneys representing both sides informed the court of the agreement. Details of the settlement however were not made public.
Latapy was seeking salary in the sum of US$424,278, plus interest, from April 8, 2011, at a rate of six per cent per annum. He was also seeking damages for wrongful dismissal, in the sum of US$402,852, with interest at six per cent per annum.
Interest at a rate of 12 per cent per annum was also being sought on any sums awarded from the date of judgment to the date of payment.
On April 15, 2009, Latapy was hired as head coach. The contract was run until November 30, 2009, on terms which included the payment of a base salary of US$33,571 per month.
This country’s national team’s bid to reach this year’s World Cup came to an end in November 2011, under German Otto Pfister, but Latapy had argued he agreed to stay on as a coach until another formal agreement was arrived at between himself and the TTFF.
Latapy says TTFF general secretary Richard Groden and then special adviser Jack Warner entered into an oral agreement with him to continue serving as a coach for two years, from March 2010, at the same salary.
The agreement provided no provision for its termination by either party. However, his contract was terminated on April 8, 2011. Latapy was represented by attorney Derek Ali while the TTFA was represented by Anthony Bullock.
Latas, TTFA kiss and make up
By Derek Achong (Guardian).
Former national senior football team head coach Russell Latapy has withdrawn his multi-million-dollar lawsuit against the T&T Football Federation (TTFF), now the T&T Football Association (TTFA), for unpaid salaries.
When the lawsuit came up for trial before Justice Frank Seepersad in the Port-of-Spain High Court yesterday morning, Latapy, through his attorney Anthony Bullock, indicated that he had agreed to an out-of-court settlement with the TTFF and no longer wished to pursue the matter.
The exact details of the settlement were not revealed in court. Both sets of attorneys agreed that each party in the case would bear their own legal fees. Latapy and current TTFA president, Port-of-Spain Mayor Raymond Tim Kee, were present in court yesterday.
In the lawsuit, which was filed in October 2011, Latapy was seeking to recover US$424,278 in outstanding salary payments and US$402,852 in damages. According to his court filings, the sum of damages that he was seeking represented 12 months’ salary from his dismissal as coach to the end of his contract with the TTFF.
Latapy’s first stint as head coach after retiring as a player began on April 15, 2009 and ended seven months later after T&T’s unsuccessful World Cup 2010 qualification campaign.
In his claim, Latapy alleged that in March 2010, during a meeting with former TTFF special adviser Jack Warner and former general secretary Richard Groden, he entered into an oral contract with the federation that he would serve a further two years in the position, ending in March 2012.
He was fired from the post after the team’s mediocre performance at the 2010 Digicel Caribbean Cup in Martinique, when they were eliminated in the group stage.
Under a written agreement with the TTFF, Latapy’s base monthly wages were $33,571, which were maintained at the same level during his second stint in the position. Latapy also alleged that he was only partially paid during some months and received no pay in others.
Latapy’s court filings detailed several lump sum payments made by the federation after his dismissal and other one-off payments that did not total the full salary due to him. According to the documents, Latapy also alleged that he contacted the federation on several occasions, demanding his payments and was ignored.
Latapy, who scored 29 goals in 79 appearances for the national team and was instrumental in the 2006 World Cup campaign, is currently employed as a coach with Portuguese third-division team Boavista FC. The TTFF was represented by Derek Ali.