Originally Posted by New York Daily News
As the Drug Enforcement Administration investigates the Super Bowl champion Saints for an alleged coverup of an assistant coach stealing the powerful painkiller Vicodin from their drug locker that includes an implication that coach Sean Payton abused the drug, one trainer from another NFL team says he no longer even stocks prescription medication.
"The Saints apparently keep stock on hand. I don't," the trainer told the Daily News on Monday. "I have a pharmacy deliver two or three times a day as needed. Everything is individually wrapped with a player's name on it. I don't keep anything in our safe. I don't keep medications now.
"I get it delivered and hand it out for the people that it is for. Then you don't have these kind of issues. When you have a big bulk of medications is when you have pills missing. That's what we are all trying to avoid."
Former Saints security director Geoffrey Santini filed a civil lawsuit against the team Friday seeking back pay and benefits, court costs and attorneys fees, after he said he quit his job last August 16 because of the Saints' handling and attempted coverup of violations involving Vicodin that were illegal. The NFL is monitoring the DEA investigation.
Santini, a 31-year FBI veteran now working security for the United Football League, doesn't name Payton or assistant head coach Joe Vitt in the lawsuit. He refers to Senior Staff Member A and Senior Staff Member B. It has been reported that Payton is SSMA and assistant head coach Joe Vitt is SSMB.
"I have never abused or stolen Vicodin or any other medication," Payton said.
The lawsuit claims that 130 Vicodin pills were not accounted for between January and April 2009. After 110 pills were found to be missing, Santini said GM Mickey Loomis arranged for surveillance cameras to be set up in the trainer's room and SSMB was subsequently caught on tape stealing pills.
Santini details disagreements he had with Loomis over how to handle the situation, which led to his resignation. SSMB (Vitt) had a painful medical condition, according to the suit, while SSMA (Payton) did not. Vitt interviewed for the Jets' head coaching job in 2006 before Eric Mangini was hired.
The Saints kept 100-count Vicodin bottles in their drug locker, according to the suit, that were obtained by prescription issued by a team doctor in the name of the Saints. "As long as the doctor writes the prescription, you can keep it on hand as bulk medication," the NFL trainer said. "In the old days, it is what every club used to do. Some trainers at professional and college level got into hot water over it. There are a lot newer ways to do it. A lot of trainers feel like me. I call the doctor. He calls the prescription in."
The trainer said within five days of receiving the medication it had to be logged with the NFL office. Four times a year, he said, it has to be reconciled in a software program the league provides. "If it doesn't match, there is a problem," the trainer said.
Santini claims the Saints wanted to doctor the logs to cover up the theft of Vicodin.
Donald Hyatt, Santini's attorney, told the Daily News on Monday that he met with Saints attorneys on April 19 to engage in settlement talks. "We never got close," Hyatt said.
Regarding reports that he asked for $2 million, he said, "I'm not going to comment on exact details."
He disputed accusations that Santini is trying to "shake down" the Saints, saying if that was the goal, the suit would have been filed "on the Friday morning before the Super Bowl."
The Saints have vehemently denied the allegations in the lawsuit. "The Saints can say whatever they want," Hyatt said. "A lot of tapes will come out."
Saints owner Tom Benson was at the NFL offices Monday for a previously scheduled meeting leading up to Tuesday's finance committee gathering. Commissioner Roger Goodell was in the room and although the league did not confirm the Vicodin scandal was talked about between the commissioner and Benson, it seems logical that it worked its way into the conversation