Challenged: Independent Liberal Party leader Jack Warner.

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CONCACAF BLOCKS JACK

Football body freezes Centre of Excellence asset

By Ria Taitt Political Editor

CONCACAF is challenging Jack Warner’s claim to ownership of the coveted Centre of Excellence in Tunapuna. 

The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) has filed a caveat against Warner, preventing him from passing title of the Centre of Excellence to any person or body. 

It is also claiming it made a significant financial contribution, to the tune of $103 million, towards the purchase of the property and construction of the Centre of Excellence.

CONCACAF has filed three documents in the Trinidad and Tobago High Court, which have been obtained by this newspaper from the Registrar General’s department, which revealed the football body claims an equitable interest in three properties “owned” by Mr Warner. 

The Centre of Excellence also comprises Marvin Lee Stadium and a swimming pool. 

Warner has claimed the land on which the Centre of Excellence stands was a gift from former FIFA president Joao Havelange. 

CONCACAF however had always contended that Warner deceived the body into believing it owned the property and this was the basis on which it had made the investment in its purchase and construction. 

According to the legal documents, the basis of this claim is that CONCACAF provided funds for the acquisition for the Centre of Excellence to the tune of $103 million (US$16 million). 

The caveat states these monies were provided “for the purpose of and in connection with its functions as the regional soccer federation for North and Central America and the Caribbean, with the intention that the Centre of Excellence and the said lands on which it is constructed and all improvements thereto would be owned by CONCACAF”. 

Attorneys acting for CONCACAF filed the caveat with the Registrar General’s department on March 28, 2013, via its attorneys, JD Sellier & Co. 

The caveat effectively blocks Warner from mortgaging, leasing or selling the Centre of Excellence. Any prospective purchaser who does a title search on the property will in fact discover this caveat, which can only be removed by CONCACAF itself or by a court order. 

This effectively freezes the crown jewel in the massive estate of the Warner empire as it fetters his ability to dispose of the valuable asset. 

The matter, though filed since last year, has only come to a head because it is understood Warner has in fact been quietly seeking a purchaser for the Centre of Excellence on the international market. 

He has made no moves to dispute the claim made in the caveat filed by CONCACAF for an equitable interest for an amount exceeding “$16M USD”. 

Legal sources have revealed the multimillion-dollar claim was made by CONCACAF’s lawyers and is expected to be filed shortly.

In this claim, CONCACAF would be seeking a judgment for repayment of the funds advanced to Warner for the property and failure to repay by him would enable the body to levy on the property. 

Warner has been the focus of attention since his advent into the political arena.

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