My Life With Lance Armstrong
Editor’s note: Outside research editor Ryan Krogh (@ryankrogh), who checked Mike Anderson’s article about working with Lance Armstrong, sent a long list of questions to officials at Livestrong as part of his effort to verify information in the story. Krogh heard back promptly from attorney Mark Fabiani, who represents Armstrong. Fabiani forwarded the following fact sheet about Anderson but declined to address additional matters, raised by Krogh, that aren’t addressed there. Armstrong did not respond to a request for an interview.
—Alex Heard (@alexheard), editorial director, Outside
Mr. Anderson Is a Disgruntled Former Employee
Anderson claimed in his lawsuit that Armstrong breached an agreement to provide Anderson the funds to start a bicycle shop. Anderson was an assistant and bicycle mechanic who was making $27,000/year when Armstrong hired him in 2002. Armstrong paid him $36,000/year, provided a car, insurance, and $5,000 bonus. When Anderson was fired he asserted Armstrong owed him $500,000 and asserted many claims against Armstrong, all of which (other than a small portion of a defamation claim) were dismissed on the basis that there was no evidence to support them. He claimed to have made a “discovery” of a box of something he claims were steroids in an apartment owned by Armstrong in Spain. This claim was not made until his lawyer demanded a $500,000 “settlement” of his lawsuit. The threat was disregarded and the “settlement” rejected out of hand. All of Anderson’s claims were fully vetted in the press, on national television and in court. The matter was eventually settled through mediation. However, it is important to note that, as we set forth below, Anderson’s contemporaneous emails and his sworn deposition testimony are entirely inconsistent with his later claims that he observed unlawful activity by Armstrong, that he was bullied and mistreated as an employee, or that he was disillusioned by the discovery of a box allegedly containing performance-enhancing drugs. To the contrary, from start to finish, his contemporaneous emails depict an employee who was honored to work for Armstrong and enthusiastic and grateful about the terms of his employment; his emails likewise completely rebut his later claims of discovering a box allegedly containing performance-enhancing drugs; and, in his deposition testimony, Anderson admits that, despite his close association with Armstrong, he never observed him using PED’s.
Anderson’s Co-Worker Refutes His Allegations
According to the sworn statements of Rebecca Dunlap, Mr. Armstrong’s former nanny who worked closely with Anderson, a personal assistant and bicycle mechanic, virtually everything that Anderson accused Mr. Armstrong of in his singularly unsuccessful lawsuit, in his appearance on ESPN’s Sports Center and a subsequent article written by Suzanne Halliburton “contradicted what he had told me on numerous occasions before he was fired.” Dunlap says that in the fall of 2004, at least seven months after his “discovery,” that “Anderson also told me he would not, and could not, ever work for anyone who had used drugs or performance-enhancing substances. Mr. Anderson also told me unequivocally not once, but several times, once in the presence of his wife, Allison, that he had no doubt that Armstrong had never used drugs or any other illegal performance-enhancing assistance in his career. He told me that Armstrong would not have been capable of drug use because of his character.”
Mr. Anderson Falsely Accuses Lance Armstrong of Avoiding Taking a Drug Test
In July 2004 Mr. Anderson stated that he received a telephone call from Derek Russey, who was frantically trying to locate Lance Armstrong. Anderson said that Russey told him that inspectors from WADA/USADA had come to Lance Armstrong’s house in Dripping Springs to administer a random test. Russey told Anderson that Lance Armstrong was required to notify the inspectors before traveling and that failure to do so would result in an automatic positive drug test.
In his affidavit, Mr. Russey says: “I never frantically called Mr. Anderson, in July 2004, or any other time, trying to locate Mr. Armstrong. I have no idea what the WADA/USADA is and I never encountered anyone at Mr. Armstrong’s property who indicated they were there to administer a drug test. I have no idea whether Mr. Armstrong is supposed to notify anyone before traveling, much less what the consequences would be for not doing so. I literally have no idea to what Mr. Anderson is referring to in paragraph 22 (of Anderson’s complaint filed against Armstrong).” Russey described Anderson under oath as a “mutual friend.”
Mr. Anderson also stated in July 2004 that John Korioth, an acquaintance of Mr. Armstrong’s, was supposed to go retrieve Lance’s Suburban from the airport and drive past the inspectors, who were then waiting at the edge of Lance Armstrong’s property after being told to leave by Derek Russey. This statement was in connection with Mr. Anderson’s conclusion that Mr. Armstrong was trying to avoid taking a random drug test. Korioth says in his affidavit: “I was never involved in any incident bearing any resemblance to the incident Mr. Anderson describes.... I was never requested to pick up Mr. Armstrong’s Suburban at the airport nor was I ever advised that there were WADA/USADA inspectors on or near Mr. Armstrong’s property at any time.... I have never been advised that any inspectors of any kind have ever been to Mr. Armstrong’s home or ranch. Neither Mr. Anderson nor Mr. Russey, with whom I am also acquainted, ever mentioned any such incident involving any inspectors. I was not involved, directly or indirectly, in any incident involving inspectors of any kind related to Mr. Armstrong or his property.” It is also noteworthy that Anderson’s volatile and unstable conduct required his physical expulsion from the deposition of Mr. Korioth.
Mr. Anderson is known as “Andersatan”
In 2004, Lance Armstrong received emails from Mr. Anderson signed “Andersatan” and “666.”
When It Comes to Finances, Mr. Anderson Wants to Discuss Nothing More Than His Salary With Lance Armstrong
In an email to Lance Armstrong on February 17, 2004, Mr. Anderson states: “[F]rom this point forward I propose that we refrain from discussing money beyond the scope of my salary. I have struggled with money my entire life.”
Mr. Anderson’s Working Conditions
Anderson describes opportunity to work for Armstrong:
As a bike mechanic, it would be an attractive opportunity to work for the premier cyclist in the world, to say the least. -Depo. P. 55
Cannot point to any unpleasant interaction with Armstrong during entire year of 2003. -Depo. P. 97
Increased his pay by in excess of 50 percent when he went to work for Armstrong. -Depo. P 154-155; 170
Anderson and his wife went to Europe and stayed in Armstrong’s apartment in Girona, Spain, in both 2003 and 2004. Mrs. Anderson was flown home for her impending delivery in 2003 and Anderson was given “paternity leave” and was flown home to be with his wife for birth of his son.
Witness agrees that Lance is a good boss for allowing him to take a paternity leave; he also expresses his gratitude. He also acknowledges that Lance didn’t have to let him go home for said paternity leave. -Depo. P. 122
Anderson claims to have made a “discovery” of a box labeled “androstenedione” in late January 2004 in Girona, Spain. He swore that from that date he was “disillusioned and disappointed” and “would not and could not” ever work for anyone who engaged in performance enhancement. The following are samples of his correspondence to Armstrong following this “discovery” which was not disclosed until long after filing the lawsuit and during a settlement conference in which his lawyer asserted a demand for $500,000:
In an email to Lance Armstrong on February 17, 2004, Mr. Anderson states:
“Also—call it Murphy’s Law—no sooner had we received the financial windfall in the form of a generous gift by you, than we watched the tax man take it way. This is also very hard to bear as our roof is literally caving in, the siding on the back of the house is completely rotten so that you can see the exposed vapor barrier, and something in the house breaks almost every week. Allison has been pushing for us to sell the house because of our mounting debt. I am justifiably at wit’s end. So when I said that we live from paycheck to paycheck, with virtually no penny to spend—it was not a rhetorical flourish.... I have struggled with money my entire life ... it is a chip that will be on my shoulder for ever.... That said, I should have known better than to let my anger get the best of me; and more importantly I should not have been such an unpleasant person to be around.... Ultimately I am employed by you to facilitate your training so that you win the TdF, I am sorry for whatever disruption I may have caused and want you to know that I am very happy to be working for you.... You have given me an opportunity that I could never get from anyone else, and for that, I am grateful....”
Mr. Anderson’s job: One of the “best jobs in the world:"
In an email to Lance Armstrong on July 27, 2004, Mr. Anderson states:
“BTW, this job affords me an enormous amount of time to think. It’s what I do when I’m out there under the hot Hill Country sun building trails. Well, I thought a lot about the conversation you and I had before you last left, and have come to the conclusion that we have the two best jobs in the world. Your job is only slightly more enviable because you get to ride your bike for a living. I guess that this is a big ‘Thanks!” I’m proud to know you and eternally grateful for everything you’ve done for me and my family....”
In an email to Armstrong on March 14, 2004, Mr. Anderson writes:
“I took Allisoni’s parents to the airport this morning. Thanks for allowing them to stay here. They said to tell you thanks, too. They enjoyed Girona immensely.”
Mr. Anderson’s wife also befriended by Armstrong:
Email to Lance Armstrong, March 29, 2004:
“Lance, I have an opportunity to interview at Castle Hill to be a massage therapist on staff. Would you mind writing a very short recommendation for me to attach to my resume? Not sure if you know Celeste Cyr, but she’s the one who I’d be interviewing with. You can email it to me and I can attach it. If you have a chance to do this, I will be eternally grateful!”
Follow up email to Armstrong on May 7, 2004:
“Lance, just wanted to thank you for the reference letter for Castle Hill. I just found out today that they chose another therapist with a good deal of gym experience. I’m so bummed. Anyway, if you hear of anyone looking to hire a massage therapist, please let me know....”
Anderson never observed Armstrong commit an illegal act. He was not terminated for reporting illegal activity. Anderson was never requested to perform an illegal act, never observed Armstrong ingest any prohibited substance; never told Armstrong he observed anything. -Depo. P. 198-199
Does not recall who manufacturer is. Witness did not open the box, knew that there was something inside the box. Does not know if what was inside the box is the same as the label—it could have been “juju beads.” Witness did not retain any items from inside box. -Depo. P. 252
While claiming to be disillusioned since January and claims to have waited until the TdF in July 2004 to tell his wife about the discovery, immediately after the 2004 Tour de France, Anderson writes an email to Armstrong telling him he was “proud (to work for Armstrong) and eternally grateful.” -Depo. P 257
The alleged substance produces the antithesis of an endurance athlete—leads to increased muscle size and strength. According to the FDA website, the side effects include testicular atrophy and impotence. Those are risks extremely unlikely to be taken by a testicular cancer survivor. Perhaps Anderson made up his story about this substance because it was publicly the source of much conversation as Mark McGwire had been recently associated with it and the FDA had banned its sale in mid-2004.