ProFootballTalk is reporting that New Orleans Saints’ head coach Sean Payton, and linebackers coach Joe Vitt allegedly stole Vicodin from the team’s facility.
Former Saints director of security Geoffrey Santini, filed suit against the team on Friday for constructive discharge. He accused general manager Mickey Loomis of attempting to cover up the theft of Vicodin from the team’s drug locker by senior staff members.
The lawsuit did not name the two senior staff members, however, the team’s trainer told Santini that one of the unnamed employees had a “painful medical condition,” and that the other did not. Per the lawsuit, the staff member without the “painful medical condition” was receiving enough pills to constitute abuse. However, the said paperwork did not specifically state that the staff member without the “painful medical condition” was the one stealing the pills.
ProFootballTalk, based conversations with multiple sources having knowledge of the situation, are reporting that the two unnamed senior staff members are Sean Payton and Joe Viatt.
Saints vice president of communications Greg Bensel gave this statement to the New Olreans Times-Picayune on Friday:
"A former employee who resigned just before the 2009 regular season threatened to go public with these unfounded charges unless we agreed to pay him an exorbitant sum of money. We refused and now he has gone public. We will aggressively defend these false allegations in court. We will not have any further comment on this matter at this time. Rather we look forward to welcoming our rookie players and want our focus to be on continuing our preparations for the 2010 Football Season and defending our title.”
ProFootballTalk is also reporting that settlement discussions between Santini and the Saints occurred before the suit was filed, but that no agreement could be reached.
Again, while the lawsuit brought by Santini is a matter of public record, Payton and Vitt being the two senior staff members accused of stealing the Vicodin is strictly a rumor.
Sean Payton gave the following statements to reporters on Saturday:
"I have reviewed Geoff Santini's lawsuit and the unwarranted publicity it has received...I have never abused or stolen Vicodin or any other medication and I fully support the Saints' position in this matter."
The lawsuit filing indicates that formal service of the documents has not yet been requested.