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The 8 best things from NYDN's Chuck Blazer and FIFA corruption investigation

Disgraced former FIFA executive Chuck Blazer is apparently helping the FBI dig into soccer corruption to save himself from a big tax debt. Here's the best of the New York Daily News' investigation.

Julian Finney

On Saturday night, the New York Daily News dropped a massive bombshell report about disgraced former FIFA Executive Committee member Chuck Blazer, who used to be the United States' representative in FIFA. He resigned in 2013 amidst corruption charges, and the Daily News claims that he's been cooperating with an FBI investigation into corruption in global soccer as a whole.

They claim the FBI got to Blazer in 2011, and that he worked as an informant for a couple of years before leaving FIFA. There's all kinds of other outlandish claims in this report, but it's probably best to just start with the basics.

Who is Chuck Blazer?

If you know the answer to this question, you can probably just skip to No. 1. But if you don't, he was a member of the FIFA Executive Committee from 1996 to 2013, as well as the Executive Vice President of U.S. Soccer. He was one of the most powerful men in world soccer and the right hand man to former CONCACAF president Jack Warner of Trinidad and Tobago, widely considered to be one of the most corrupt executives in the history of international soccer.

Blazer was questioned by the FIFA ethics committee in 2011 after Caribbean Football Union members alleged bribery by FIFA investigators. He was suspended by FIFA for 90 days in 2013, but resigned his position. He's been investigated by the FBI and IRS, and apparently, he's decided to cooperate with them to avoid going to jail.

Okay, revelations time.

1. His cats had their own apartment

The lede of the Daily News story talks about Blazer's "extravagant lifestyle, which included a pricey Trump Tower apartment for his cats." Yes, a Trump Tower apartment that was just for his cats.

"CONCACAF's offices took up the entire 17th floor, but Blazer often worked from two apartments where he lived on the 49th floor in $18,000-per-month digs for himself and an adjoining $6,000 retreat largely for his unruly cats, according to a source."

His cats' apartment was only one-third the cost of his own? That's how little he valued his pets? What a monster.

2. He had a 'fleet' of mobility scooters

There's a weird amount of making fun of Blazer for his weight in this piece, which isn't cool, but this is quite an amazing sentence.

At the middle of it all was the Falstaffian figure of Blazer, who came to inhabit a world of private jets, famous friends, secret island getaways, offshore bank accounts and so much fine food and drink that he eventually needed a fleet of mobility scooters to move from feast to feast.


3. He didn't pay his taxes for 10-plus years

The FBI threatened to throw Blazer in jail if he didn't cooperate with their investigation. He decided to cooperate because, well, he was going to get out of jail for a long time if he didn't.

Their leverage: More than a decade of unpaid taxes on his multimillion-dollar income. Using forensic accounting techniques, investigators working on a 2013 integrity report commissioned by CONCACAF had mapped out two decades of financial chicanery Blazer used to keep his income off the books.

Seeing as that income was well into the tens of millions of dollars, that's a lot of unpaid taxes. It's best to do what the FBI says and get on a payment plan.

4. CONCACAF bought him a Hummer ... to use in New York City

This might not be the most offensive revelation in the Daily News investigation, but it sure is the dumbest.

In 2005, Blazer had CONCACAF spend $48,554 for a 2004 Hummer H2 sport utility vehicle for him and his girlfriend. CONCACAF paid insurance for the vehicle and spent more than $21,600 to keep the vehicle parked at a garage near CONCACAF's New York office.

Okay, so a spoiled rich guy got his rich employers to buy him a car. Pretty standard stuff. But he got them to buy him a HUMMER in MANHATTAN and pay to park it near Trump Tower?! What the hell, dude?! Hire a driver! Get your employer to pay for a private limo! Are you insane?

5. Blazer and the FBI argued about how to secretly record conversations

Before Blazer went to the London Olympics with a recording device that he would use to bug conversations for the FBI, he argued with the investigators about whether or not their means of bugging people would be a dead giveaway. And you know what? He has a point.

Before the London Games, Blazer also complained that the simple act of tossing the keychain on a table was beneath a man of his stature. But the FBI won that argument, too.

It's a complete tell. Someone like Blazer pulls some keys out of his pocket with a keyfob on them and chucks them down on some probably absurdly expensive table in an extremely expensive cafe or hotel? Get out of here.

6. The Daily News went and hounded him at the hospital

The sad part of this story is that Blazer was recently diagnosed with colon cancer. So, of course the Daily News went and found him at a medical facility to ask him questions.

Visited at a medical center north of the city where he's undergoing cancer treatment, he declined to discuss any aspect of the massive probe.

"I just can't talk about that," the one-time Westchester County soccer dad said through a bushy beard streaked with white.

I get that they were trying to be thorough and that they wouldn't have had much credibility if they made no attempt to contact Blazer, but who does this?

7. The Daily News knows what he wore daily when he stopped going to the office

What the hell?

Fearing the wrath of Warner and his allies, Blazer began moving computers from place to place, often conducting business from the edge of his bed, wearing only his boxers and an oversized Ralph Lauren polo shirt.

Why do you know this?

8. He probably only ratted out Jack Warner to avoid a lifetime ban

This article does a lot of alluding to Warner and Blazer colluding on a lot of occasions to help keep each other rich and in power. Once Warner and Mohammed bin Hamman started handing out envelopes of straight cash, though, one of the people who got money took pictures and decided to rat. Because he'd worked with Warner on so many shady deals in the past, he knew he'd be linked to this, even if he had nothing to do with it. So he had to turn Warner in.

Blazer had little choice but to turn Warner in to FIFA, lest he be seen as a co-conspirator. He reported Warner's possible violations of FIFA's ethics code to the soccer body's secretary general, Jerome Valcke.

Of course, Warner found out that Blazer snitched and proceeded to make sure Blazer ended up as dead and buried within the world of international soccer as him. But Blazer at least avoided a lifetime ban and bought himself some time to get his ducks in a row by going to Valcke before anyone else could.

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