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Thu, May

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ATTORNEY Keith Scotland, representing former Trinidad and Tobago senior men’s football team coach Stephen Hart, is moving to collect on a US$742,444 judgment, as ordered by Justice Eleanor Donaldson-Honeywell in the High Court last November, against the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA).

With its bank account virtually emptied by a garnishee order on behalf of another creditor, former technical director Kendall Walkes, the TTFA has only one tangible asset, the FIFA-built Home of Football (HOF).

“We did not want to embarrass anybody,” said Scotland, adding, “but we have to do what we have to do.” Scotland had written to the TTFA late last month stating that the payment of outstanding debt be made no later than May 9 or, in default, legal action would be filed to enforce the judgment.

With no response of its intent by the TTFA, Hart’s legal team is moving forward with a ‘letter before execution’ as its next course to levy on the debt owed. “We are awaiting when we could approach the registry, so we can do our enforcement of our judgment,” Scotland informed the Trinidad Express.

Scotland expressed his disappointment over the TTFA’s lack of urgency in its response in the matter, given there is already a court judgment against them (the TTFA). “We have been very, very restrained,” Scotland noted. “But my client has instructed me now, that the time has come, to enforce the judgment and we are now in the process of doing that.”

Hart has not pursued damages against his former employers, but only outstanding monies owed. “Coach Hart has been very reasonable with the TTFA,” reiterated Scotland.

Scotland indicated that he would not be drawn into the current impasse involving the ousted William Wallace-led TTFA executive and FIFA— world football’s governing body, which named a Normalisation Committee, headed by Robert Hadad, to take charge of local football.

“I am dealing with the TTFA. When we write, we write to the official members,” said Scotland. “I am not getting into whatever shenanigans and imbroglio that has gripped the TTFA,” he added.

The bottom line, Scotland insists, is that “monies are outstanding and they need to be paid.”

Arguably the most successful coach in T&T football’s recent history, Hart led the Soca Warriors to successive CONCACAF Gold Cup quarter-final appearances in 2013 and 2015, and also the six-team ‘Hex’, which is the final stage of qualifying in the CONCACAF Zone, for the 2018 World Cup.

Hart’s contract was due to end in December 2018, but he was terminated as head coach two years earlier.

“I just want them to pay my client his just due and that is reasonable,” Scotland stated, adding, “He coached and he was reasonably successful. They unceremoniously, for whatever reason, dismissed him. Well, when you do that, there are consequences, and we have a judgment.”

In his claim, Hart was seeking US$742,000 in compensation representing salaries, bonuses, Hexagonal (World Cup qualifying) bonus and travel expenses. The TTFA had failed to pay Hart his base salary, for the period September to October 2015, of US$20,000 per month, and September to November 2016, of US$25,000 monthly, in accordance with clause three stated in his contract.

The TTFA had also given Hart a short payment of $5,000 for the period July to August 2015. As was stipulated in his contract, Hart also sought payment of salary from December 2016 to December 2018, at a rate of US$25,000 per month.

Hart was also entitled to bonuses, one of which was an additional remuneration of US$10,000, on condition that the national team placed in the Hexagonal tournament.

SOURCE: T&T Express