Floyd Landis aims to reimburse Floyd Fairness Fund donors
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Floyd Landis aims to reimburse Floyd Fairness Fund donors

by Ben Atkins at 8:11 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Persuading fans to contribute to his defense weighs heavy, but has no resources to pay anyone yet

Floyd LandisFloyd Landis has said that he plans to pay back everyone that contributed to the Floyd Fairness Fund (FFF), the trust set up to finance the challenge to his positive dope test at the 2006 Tour de France.  In an interview with ESPN's Bonnie Ford, Landis, who has subsequently admitted doping for much of his career and pointed the finger at many others, said that the fact that he convinced fans to contribute to a campaign based on lies nagged at him daily.

Since Landis currently lives in a rustic cabin in a mountain village in southern California and currently has no regular income, it is unlikely that he will be able to repay anybody in the immediate future.

"At the moment, I'm not doing all that well,” he told Ford, “but the whole country's unemployed, so I'm not in the minority."

While he has no means to immediately reimburse anybody, he plans to put the process in place so that he will be able to do so if and when he has he money.

"What I want to make clear is that I can't at the moment set a timeframe for when I can start paying people back,” he said, “but I'll be glad to take the claims so that I have them," Landis said. "I don't want to wait until I can pay it. I'd like to have it set up, because it's going to take time to sift through the whole thing anyway."

A priority for Landis is to repay the smaller donors, who contributed an estimated $300,000 of the total $1 million.  He told Ford that he would be adding a form to his currently dormant website floydlandis.com, so that donors can provide documentation to prove their contribution.

"Probably some people are going to get $100 here and there that they didn't give,” he said, “but whatever, we can figure that out," Landis said. "I know what the total is. I'm not that concerned about that."

While his present circumstances financially are quite desperate, Landis is universally acknowledged to be the plaintiff in a Whistleblower Suit filed against Lance Armstrong and the investors and executives of Tailwind Sports, although Landis himself refused to confirm this.  Should the fraud case against Armstrong and Tailwind (the parent company of the US Postal team) be proven, the government would recoup a millions of dollars; Landis would be in line for a share of this, much of which could be used to reimburse FFF donors.

While he realises that his subsequent confession, and now his promise to repay his donors, does not erase the fact that he lied to his fans for many years; he hopes that the gesture will go some way to make up for the betrayal of trust.

"I am acutely aware that accepting money on a false premise and then later returning it does not erase the lie,” he said, “and I'll live with the fact that I lied to trusting people, but I want to live an honorable life and I hope that people will see this as a starting point toward that goal."


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