Friday, 14 Dec 2018

USA Gymnastics declares bankruptcy and plans to fight to preserve its certification

The offices of USA Gymnastics and the US Olympic Committee in Indianapolis. (Aaron P. Bernstein / Getty Images)

Larry Nassar, USA Gymnastics, was declared bankrupt on Wednesday in a series of proceedings brought before more than 350 victims of sexual assault by his team's doctor, Larry Nassar.

"We need to help survivors resolve, definitively and definitively, claims based on horrible acts of the past and as part of this process, speed up the settlement and help them move forward" said Kathryn Carson, elected president last week. of the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors

In addition, the Chapter 11 filing will put an end to the US Olympic Committee's effort to dismantle the governing body of sport, according to Carson, thereby providing the organization with "leeway" so that it can continue to lead the sport locally and nationally.

The bankruptcy filing does not represent a waiver by USA Gymnastics of its role as the national governing body of sport. Carson said the governing body was pursuing its search for a president and chief executive officer and continued its day-to-day activities. For her, it was a "crucial first step" towards rebuilding the organization's trust in the gymnasts and their families, the public and the sponsors, many of whom fled the country. sport in the aftermath of the Nassar scandal.

Carson declined to provide an estimate of the disbursements that the governing body will pay to the Nassar victim gymnasts under his supervision. Earlier this week, the state of Michigan paid $ 500 million to a settlement fund to compensate Nassar victims under its watch. In both cases, the Michigan State and USA Gymnastics leaders ignored the allegations of abuse for years and failed to timely release information about abuse to law enforcement. .

The insurance underwritten by USA Gymnastics before the Nassar scandal will cover the cost of settlements, said Carson. The amount will not be affected by the Chapter 11 filing. But aside from these insurance products, she added, the organization has "no other material assets" available to settle its claims.

Carson said the board had been discussing the possibility of filing for bankruptcy protection for some time before the USOC announced on Nov. 5 that it was taking the first step towards dismantling USA Gymnastics , having lost hope that she could effectively serve the sport after a series. missteps.

Carson said the mediation process with some of the litigants "was not working at a fast pace" and that a bankruptcy proceeding would be faster than the resolution of lawsuits filed in multiple courts across the country. A chapter 11 bankruptcy process, she said, would allow claims to be brought together before a court judge who could appoint a mediator to try to resolve it.

The decision comes 20 months ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, when the US women's gymnastics team will be looking for its third consecutive Olympic gold medal, while multiple-event champion Simone Biles will try to defend her title. American women and Biles are both favorites. The Americans dominate the 2018 world championships in Qatar in October, winning the team title and Biles winning a record fourth place individual individual.


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