A civil lawsuit against the New Orleans Saints over constructive discharge (quitting under duress) was filed last Friday by the club’s former security director Geoff Santini.
In the suit Santini cites an unnamed senior staff member, first reported by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk as head coach Sean Payton, being “distributed” prescription painkillers improperly from Saints head trainer Scottie Patton. (Page 2, Item 7)
Though he did not confirm that he was one of the individuals named in Santini’s lawsuit, in a statement today Payton denied ever improperly using prescription drugs.
I have reviewed Geoff Santini’s lawsuit and the unwarranted publicity it has received. I have never abused or stolen vicodin or any other medication.
In reading the 13-page Santini lawsuit filing, I also found no evidence cited by Santini suggesting Payton did anything wrong.
Though Payton is getting most of the media attention, the focus of Santini’s suit actually barely involves the Saints head coach. Instead, the thrust of the civil claim stems from videotape evidence that another senior Saints staff member, reportedly linebackers coach Joe Vitt, stole a total of 20 Vicodin pills from a team medical cabinet on April 29-30, 2009.
Santini then cites a subsequent, alleged coverup attempt by Saints officials on why those pills, and 110 others, went missing as the reason for his constructive discharge.
On June 23, 2009, Santini reported the evidence of the misappropriation of prescription meds by the Saints, with approval from team General Manager Mickey Loomis, to the U.S. Attorney’s Eastern District of Louisiana office. 11 months later, with no criminal charges brought against any member of the Saints organization, Santini filed a civil suit against the club last Friday.
Though Florio at Pro Football Talk reports that before Santini sued the team, he offered to drop all claims against the club for a seven-figure payout.
Multiple sources tell us that, before filing suit, Santini requested payment in the amount of $2 million in exchange for a full and complete settlement of his claims. … As we understand it, the Saints did not respond to the opening demand.
Per our sources, Santini’s counsel, Donald Hyatt, eventually offered to make a bottom-line, non-negotiable demand. The number was significantly lower than $2 million, and possibly less than $1 million.
In response, no offer came from the Saints.
That said, we’ve picked up indications that the Saints were trying on Friday to put together a package in the low six figures.
From the amount of material evidence supporting Santini’s claim of prescription drug abuse and a subsequent effort within the organization to cover it up, it isn’t hard to figure out why the Saints aren’t settling - and the Feds haven’t brought charges against any member of the club.