Lance Armstrong Arbitrator to Hear $12 Million Bonus Recoup Case

Lance Armstrong lost an arbitration ruling in his attempt to keep a promotions company from recouping $12 million tied to bonuses he received for winning the Tour de France.

The arbitration panel said in a 2-1 decision two days ago it agreed to hear SCA Promotions Inc.’s effort to get back the money it paid Armstrong and Tailwind Sports Corp. for winning the race from 2002 to 2004, as well as legal fees and interest it later paid him. Armstrong’s side had argued that the arbitrators no longer had jurisdiction because of a previous settlement.

The panel “does have and will exercise jurisdiction to determine and make a final award resolving any disputes between or among Tailwind Sports Corp., Lance Armstrong, and SCA Promotions Inc.,” the arbitrators said, according to the document provided to Bloomberg News by SCA.

“There’s still a fight ahead but at least we’re allowed to get in the ring at this point,” Jeffrey Dorough, an attorney for SCA, said in a telephone interview.

Tim Herman, an attorney for Armstrong, didn’t immediately return an e-mail seeking comment on the decision.

Armstrong, who said in January that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win each of his record seven Tour de France titles from 1999 to 2005, was paid $4.5 million by SCA for the 2002 and 2003 victories. Armstrong sued the company after it refused to pay him a $5 million bonus for winning in 2004 after speculation about doping surfaced. The company agreed in 2006 to pay him the bonus as well as $2.5 million in interest and legal fees, bringing the total to $12 million.

The panel asked both sides to meet and decide on a date to continue the arbitration. Those discussions began yesterday, Dorough said.

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