Seems the action never stops in Who Dat Nation.
Yesterday, the former security director of the New Orleans Saints, Geoff Santini, filed a lawsuit against the organization that accuses two senior staff members of illegally stealing vicodin and general manager Mickey Loomis of covering it up. If true, this could be bad. Real bad.
Often in a situation like this, facts get distorted and a great deal of misunderstanding prevails. To avoid any confusion and to assure that all of us are on the same page while discussing this topic in the future, I have put together what I deem a pretty good summary of the accusations. I have read through the entire lawsuit, taken liberties with editing and reposted all of the pertinent information in an easier to read format. It's still a bit long but I seriously recommend reading this carefully and in it's entirety. You can find the original lawsuit right here.
Some important things to keep in mind while reading:
- The person referred to as plaintiff is New Orleans Saints former security director, Geoff Santini.
- Other people mentioned in the lawsuit that you may not be familiar with are head athletic trainer Scottie Patton and assistant athletic trainer Kevin Mangum. Mangum's name is consistently misspelled within the lawsuit.
- The two anonymous senior staff members of the Saints organization are listed as SSM A and SSM B. However, Pro Football Talk reports these people to be head coach Sean Payton and assistant head coach/linebackers coach Joe Vitt, respectively. Payton has denied this...
"I have reviewed Geoff Santini's lawsuit and the unwarranted publicity it has received," Payton said in the statement. "I have never abused or stolen Vicodin or any other medication and I fully support the Saints' position in this matter as expressed by Greg Bensel yesterday."
- Confirmation of Vitt's identity might be confirmed in a snippet of conversation when Santini says:
Santini: So basically they are going to take all these pills and tag them to Joe...just make up dates.
Lastly, let's keep in mind that these are just accusations made against the team in a suit. Nobody has been charged with anything and nobody had been found guilty of any wrong doing. Saints representative Greg Bensel released a statement yesterday painting quite a different picture of the situation:
"A former employee who resigned just before the 2009 regular season threatened to go public with these unfounded charges unless we agreed to pay him an exorbitant sum of money," said Greg Bensel, vice president of communications for the Saints. "We refused, and now he has gone public. We will aggressively defend these false allegations in court."
The picture will become clearer with time. Until then, read on and make sure you've got your facts straight.
Prior to being hired as the Director of Security for the Saints plaintiff retired as a Supervisory Special Agent from the Federal Bureau of Investigation after 31 years of experience in law enforcement.
On April 28, 2009, Head Trainer Scottie Patton ("Patton") met with plaintiff...and told plaintiff that vicodin were missing from the team drug locker.
Plaintiff immediately noted that a large number of pills were recorded as having been dispensed to Senior Staff Member A ("SSM A") and Senior Staff Member B ("SSM B")...Patton advised that SSM B had a painful medical condition, but that SSM A did not.
After the conversation with Patton...plaintiff, Patton and Magnum met with Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis ("GM Loomis"). During this meeting Patton told GM Loomis, in plaintiffs presence, that, "Someone is stealing vicodin." Loomis...with reference to the amount of vicodin dispensed to SSM A inquire if it was sufficient to constitute abuse. Patton responded, "Yes." Loomis asked if SSM A had a medical condition and Patton responded, "No." Loomis asked if SSM B had a medical condition and Patton responded, "Yes." Patton, in response to a question from GM Loomis, repeated that it was abuse...During the meeting GM Loomis approved the placement of concealed cameras in the room containing the drug cabinet with a new, full bottle of vicodin placed in the cabinet as bait.
By approximately midnight on the night of April 28-29, 2009 two concealed cameras were installed in the drug cabinet area.
On April 30, 2009...plaintiff was informed that eight (8) pills were missing from the new bottle of 100 vicodin pills, leaving only 92 in the bottle. A review of the video from the covert cameras revealed that SSM B has illegally entered the room at approximately 6:13 p.m. on April 29, 2009 with a set of keys to the drug cabinet and removed some pills from the vicodin bottle.
Plaintiff showed GM Loomis the videos and informed him that this was felony theft of schedule 3 narcotics. Loomis told plaintiff, Mangum and Patton to keep all of this confidential...Plaintiff then told GM Loomis that the video needed to be copied for use during the NFL audit....Plaintiff told Loomis the event should be reported and without copying the video it would eventually be overwritten by the recording equipment and erased. Loomis told the Plaintiff to "let it go" in effect instructing the Plaintiff to allow the destruction of evidence of a felony...GM Loomis left plaintiff's office and plaintiff made a copy of the video onto a video cassette.
The following day a trainer reported to plaintiff that 12 addition vicodin pills were missing...the recording revealed that SSM B had again illegally entered the drug cabinet and had stolen vicodin...Measures were taken to secure the drugs in a different location.
On May 1, 2009...SSM B was recorded unsuccessfully attempting to illegally gain access to the drug cabinet. When he was unsuccessful after a number of attempts he left the room.
On Monday, May 4, 2009, GM Loomis directed that the cameras be shut down.
On May 8, 2009, plaintiff transmitted a memo about these events via email to GM Loomis, Patton and Mangum...A short while later GM Loomis replied via email directing plaintiff, "Do not send memos like this without talking with me first."
On May 13, 2009, in Patton' office there was a conversation between the plaintiff, Patton, and Magnum...Plaintiff understood the foregoing [conversation] to mean that Patton was going to adjust the dispensing logs to reflect that SSM B had received all of the missing vicodin such that the totals...would match the total dispensed. Plaintiff understood this would be actively creating false records to conceal both federal and state criminal violations...
One June 16, 2009...plaintiff had a conversation with Patton in his office. In this conversation Patton confirmed that GM Loomis directed that the drug records be changed to cover up the theft of vicodin...Additionally...plaintiff advised Patton altering the records would constitute one or more state and federal felonies, and that Patton should not go along with changing or personally change the drug records.
On June 22, 2009, plaintiff had a conversation with Patton and Magnum...Patton stated he would not change any records...
On June 23, 2009, there was a telephone conversation between plaintiff and Loomis...Loomis advised that it would be inserted into the report that SSM B received the pills. Plaintiff advised Loomis that there was only proof of 20 pills being taken by SSM B, and that the other 110 pills could not be accounted for in that fashion...GM Loomis admitted during the conversation that corrective action had been taken to ensure that SSM B received treatment and would not steal any additional pills. GM Loomis then stated...that the records would not be changed. GM Loomis stated that SSM B admitted to him that SSM B had stolen all of the pills...Loomis stated that he would report the situation to the NFL's attorney and authorized plaintiff to report the situation to the U.S. Attorney, Mr. Jim Letten.
Subsequent conversations ensued between plaintiff and GM Loomis concerning upcoming discussions with the DEA about the situation and the need to keep SSM A's name out of the conversation.
On July 30, 2009, plaintiff was contacted by NFL security representatives who requested additional information because they believed that NFL security had not been provided with full and complete facts concerning the missing pills.
On the afternoon of August 10, 2009, plaintiff had a conversation with Mr. Benson, team owner, on indoor practice field...Mr. Benson...stated that he needed to be fully briefed on the situation so that Benson could have a full and truthful discussion with the NFL Commissioner the following day.
Later on August 10, 2009, plaintiff had a conversation with GM Loomis concerning the discussion with Owner Benson...GM Loomis instructed plaintiff "he would rather just give him an outline" and thereby provide general information, but not the memo previously prepared which gave details.
On the morning of August 11, 2009...Plaintiff then took the memo to in house counsel, who cleared it for presentation to Owner Benson.
Plaintiff then met with Mr. Benson and GM Loomis in Mr. Benson's office...Mr. Benson reviewed it [the memo] and stated that SSM A and SSM B had placed the team in a bad position.
Upon leaving the meeting with Mr. Benson, plaintiff objected to in house counsel that the owner has not been told the entire truth by GM Loomis.
On August 16, 2009...plaintiff notified the Saints organization via email that he was giving his two weeks notice.
Shortly after the August 16, 2009 resignation email was sent by plaintiff...GM Loomis wanted to know why plaintiff felt he had to leave, and attempted to convince him to stay...plaintiff responded that...the entire pattern of events described herin made it reasonably impossible for plaintiff to continue his employment with the Saints.