The head of former CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb’s Cayman-based office was one of three people suspended from work by the regional soccer body in the aftermath of Webb’s arrest, according to allegations in a lawsuit.
Lerina Bright, who earned US$100,000 a year as “head of international affairs and the president’s office” is suing CONCACAF, claiming she was unfairly treated and effectively forced out of the job.
Ms. Bright, who ended her employment in November, claims the organization’s decision to place her on required leave cast unfair suspicion on her conduct and integrity. She is claiming the actions of CONCACAF amounted to unfair dismissal and damaged her reputation, and is seeking compensation.
A statement of claim, filed with the Grand Court on behalf of Ms. Bright, reveals for the first time the internal investigation that took place at CONCACAF’s offices at the George Town Financial Center, formerly the Admiral Financial Center, in George Town following Webb’s arrest. It suggests that three employees at the office were put on required leave within weeks of Webb’s arrest in Switzerland last May.
It states that Ms. Bright was informed on June 11 that CONCACAF was going through a “period of transition following much publicized recent events.” According to the statement, she was told in writing that her role was under review as part of a “rationalization of operations in the Cayman Islands” and she would be placed on required leave.
The suit alleges that Dr. Laila Mintas, who at the time was director of sports integrity for CONCACAF and based in Cayman, told staff that Ms. Bright was being criminally investigated.
It states that Dr. Mintas said in the presence of staff that “the plaintiff (Ms. Bright) and two other members of staff had been sent home because investigations were under way into their roles in the case relating to Jeffrey Webb and stated ‘as far as I am concerned all three of them are thieves’ or words to that effect.”
The statement of claim later alleges that Dr. Mintas told staff “they have been trafficking cash for Jeffrey.”
The court filing states that these comments amounted to slander and along with the decision to place Ms. Bright on administrative leave caused distress and embarrassment and damaged her reputation as a sports administrator. These issues, along with the “global exposure and disgrace” of CONCACAF following the arrest of some of its leading figures, including Webb, have impacted and will continue to impact her chances of gaining employment, the court document states.
Ms. Bright was refused permission to return to work at CONCACAF on Nov. 10, it adds.
“The plaintiff was wrongfully dismissed from her employment,” the suit states.
It claims she is owed nearly $40,000 in severance pay, lost earnings and pension contributions, as well as further damages for slander and breach of contract.
It adds, “The plaintiff has further suffered detriment in the labor market and damage to her future career prospects in the sports industry and claims damages as a result of the stigma resulting from her association with the unlawful conduct of the defendant.”