She may have tried to avoid it, but Jack Warner’s wife, Maureen Warner is set to face a judge in a US$37.8 million lawsuit brought by Concacaf.
Mrs Warner, and two of the family’s companies will join her husband and others in the million dollars lawsuit, which concerns the ownership of the Dr Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence.
Mrs Warner, Renraw Investments Ltd and CCAM and Company Ltd sought to have Concacaf’s lawsuit against them struck out on the basis that it did not apply to them, as they had no fiduciary duty to the regional football body and the claims were statute-barred, since they related to facts dating back to 1995-2011 when the lawsuit was filed in 2016.
In December 2022, Justice Robin Mohammed dismissed the application by the three.
Mrs Warner and the two companies appealed, and on Wednesday, Justices of Appeal Allan Mendonca and James Aboud dismissed their complaints.
“The trial against the appellants should be allowed to proceed,” was the ruling of the Appeal Court.
Aboud, who wrote the unanimous decision, said, “The trial judge essentially decided that no determination could be made at that early stage as to the liability of the appellants without first considering all of the evidence.
“The decision by the trial judge to defer making any determination on these issues until the trial, and after he had heard the full evidence so as to understand what role the appellants played in the transaction and to understand the appropriate context and meaning of their actions, was, in my opinion, both sensible and practical as a case-management decision.
“This was a proper exercise of his function and case-management discretion. The appellants have failed to demonstrate that the exercise of the trial judge’s case management discretion was erroneous or plainly wrong.”
In its substantive claim, Concacaf contends that Warner, his wife and the companies were involved in a conspiracy to misappropriate Concacaf funds, which were allocated to construct the facility, by misrepresenting that the facility was owned by Concacaf.
The football body alleged Warner defrauded Concacaf of some US$33 million and, in doing so, breached his fiduciary duties by diverting its funds to the companies he and his wife had a controlling interest in or were the controlling minds.
Concacaf also listed an accountant and his company as parties to the claim, as it contended that he had a conflict of interest by serving as the accountant for both Concacaf and the companies.
In defence of the claim, Warner, who served as Concacaf president between 1990 and 2011, said he could not recall facts surrounding the deal, owing to Concacaf’s delay in bringing the claim. He also denied that he and his wife had a controlling interest in the companies and challenged the arrangement as he denied that he misappropriated funds.
Mrs Warner contended she was never involved in the financing of the project. Aboud said there was no allegation she had any direct relationship with Concacaf, fiduciary or otherwise.
“She is being sued by Concacaf for holding shares in companies which they claim were owned or obtained as a result of a breach of trust by her husband and co-shareholder/director, Mr Warner.”
The matter will now return to the judge for case management.
Mrs Warner was represented by attorneys Rishi Dass, SC, and Marina Narinesingh. The companies were represented by Fyard Hosein, SC, Sasha Bridgemohansingh, Aadam Hosein and Anil Mararaj. Attorneys Jonathan Walker and Cherie Gopie represented Concacaf.
Concacaf also filed similar proceedings against Warner in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York.