ESPN'S Cossack Says Loomis in Most Danger if Allegations are True

Randy SavoieAnalyst IIMay 4, 2010

JACKSON, MS - JULY 31:  General Manager Mickey Loomis of the New Orleans Saints watches practice during training camp on July 31, 2006 in Jackson, Mississippi.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Three months after the New Orleans Saints became the nation's feel good story by winning the Super Bowl, federal authorities are investigating a serious accusation being made by the team's former security director Geoffrey Santini according to ESPN and The Times-Picayune.

Santini is a retired FBI agent who spent 31 years in the agency. He filed a civil lawsuit accusing the team of attempting to cover-up the theft of prescription painkillers from the team's drug locker. The lawsuit alleges that a senior staff member stole Vicodin pills while another was given an amount large enough to constitute abuse.

The suit did not name the staff members. However, according to The Associated Press, two sources with knowledge of the case said Saints' head coach Sean Payton was allegedly allowed to take a large amount of Vicodin from the team's supply and linebackers coach Joe Vitt allegedly stole the medication.

According to AP, the lawsuit details video surveillance of Vitt taking keys from a trainer's office and using them to open the team's drug locker to take Vicodin. Santini claims he was ordered to remain silent about the matter.

Also, Santini says two trainers were told by a top team executive to forge entries in official logs so the amount of Vicodin stolen would be reflected as an amount that had been properly distributed.

Saintini said he was ordered to ignore activity he thought might be criminal prompting him to submit his resignation. He is seeking damages of back pay.

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The New Orleans Saints say the accusations are false and represent an attempt by Santini to shakedown the organization. The Saints say they will aggressively defend themselves in court.

Sean Payton released a statement saying, "I reviewed the lawsuit and the unwarranted publicity it has received. I've never abused or stole Vicodin or any other medication. I fully support the Saints position in this matter."

ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack said Monday on the network, "In my opinion, general manager Mickey Loomis is the one who is facing the most problems from this case. Santini claims that Loomis came to him and told him that he was going to alter the drug logs in order to try an protect assistant coach Joe Vitt and head coach Sean Payton. Obstructing justice and witness tampering is a very serious crime," said Cossack.

According to Cossack stealing Vicodin is a serious problem, but the obstruction of justice is a much more serious problem. 

ESPN analyst John Clayton said on ESPN Radio, "(The Saints) have to be concerned. They (the Saints) seem to be confident in the fact that they are defending Sean Payton and they are not making any comments so far on the Joe Vitt situation. But the fact that this goes back into last year, they seem to be reasonably confident that nothing bad is going to happen."

According to Clayton this is just the beginning.

"We'll see where this goes but they seem to be confident with how strong they're coming out defending Sean Payton and the stance that they've taken," said Clayton.

Clayton commented on what possible action the NFL may take if the club is discovered to have done something wrong.

"(What) the league is saying now is that they are monitoring the situation and, if necessary, they will investigate into it," said Clayton. "But, my guess would be, that there would be possible suspensions if there is going to be any violations because this is a serious matter as Roger Cossack said."

"This could be a federal violation if found to be guilty of any of the people involved if there is a cover-up," said Clayton. "And, you know, from past incidents, (this) is not going to be tolerated from the league standpoint. But, obviously it's in the beginning stages of where this is going and too early to make any judgements one way or the other."

There is nothing in the lawsuit alleging that Payton did anything illegal.

According to Santini's lawyers, Santini reported the possible violations to federal authorities on June 23 of 2009. He resigned from the New Orleans Saints on Aug. 16, 2009 and first informed the team of his intent to sue the organization on Sept. 14, 2009.


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