The unthinkable occurred yesterday, Jack Warner resigned as minister in the Trinidad and Tobago government and as Chairman of the COP. In unravelled very quickly after the Integrity Committee appointed by CONCACAF and headed by former Chief Justice of Barbados Sir David Simmons to investigate “several allegations in relation to specific issues”. See related BU blog CONCACAF’s Integrity Committee Finds Jack Warner and Chuck Blazer Guilty – David Estwick Take Note re:Barbados Water Authority.
While the focus of the investigation was on the two high fliers Jack Warner the former president of CONCACAF and Chuck Blazer former General Secretary of CONCACAF the name of Barbadian Lisle Austin was mentioned five times in the report. Let us have a look to see why Austin was interviewed by the Commissioners. Bear in mind Austin is a former Vice President of CONCACAF who served under Warner.
On page 36 the report states:
5.45. In connection with the 2007 mortgage loan, Warner submitted an agreement, dated June 11, 2007, that irrevocably assigned to First Citizens monthly payments of $50,000 that CONCACAF’s New York office had been consistently sending to the COE to support its operations.219 This assignment was signed by Warner in his capacity as CONCACAF President and Lisle Austin in his capacity as CONCACAF Vice President.220
Further on the same page:
“Documents received from First Citizens include only the first page of a resolution passed at a June 4, 2007 “meeting of [CONCACAF]” that was held at the CONCACAF President’s Office in Trinidad and Tobago.222 This document lists only Jack Warner and Lisle Austin as attendees at this meeting, and purports to authorize, on behalf of CONCACAF, the 2007 mortgage loan.223 It further states that the mortgage deed for the 2007 mortgage loan was presented during this meeting as part of the authorization.224 The Committee found no evidence that the resolution was ever presented to CONCACAF’s Executive Committee or Congress, notwithstanding the fact that the CONCACAF Statutes require authorization from the Congress for any loans.”
When Austin was asked to explain why he would sign a mortgage document knowing he had no authority to bind CONCACAF to such an agreement, here is what he is reported to have told the Commissioners:
5.47. Counsel to the Integrity Committee spoke with Lisle Austin, who is from Barbados and for many years served as Vice President of the CONCACAF Executive Committee, including at the time the loan was issued.227 Austin readily acknowledged that he lacked authority to bind CONCACAF in connection with the loan.228 When he was shown his signature on the mortgage deed, Austin indicated that the signature looked like his but also said that he did not recall signing the document and speculated that someone may have transferred his signature onto the document without his knowledge.229 Austin acknowledged that his position as CONCACAF Vice President did not independently permit him to bind CONCACAF in connection with the 2007 loan and said that, during his tenure on the CONCACAF Executive Committee, he did not recall ever receiving authorization to sign any document on behalf of CONCACAF.230
Austin further reports to the Commissioners the following:
Austin did recall signing a shorter, one-page loan document at Warner’s request, and on behalf of the CFU, authorizing repairs to the COE facilities.231 Austin stated that the loan document was presented to him by Warner during an informal meeting with Warner and Patricia Modeste, who was Warner’s long-time secretary and who appeared as Secretary to both Renraw and CCAM on documents related to the loan.232 Austin did not explain how he would have had authority to sign the one-page loan document on behalf of the CFU related to repairs to the COE.233
Any person who has purchased a property and have to sign the deeds know that it is done in the presence of a lawyer and a witness. Based on what is contained in the report BU is prepared to describe Austin’s testimony rubbish!