USA Gymnastics, facing dozens of lawsuits stemming from the Larry Nassar scandal and in the midst of Chapter 11 proceedings, paid nearly $700,000 in legal fees and expenses and listed $1.4 million in total legal expenses last month, according to a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
U. S Bankruptcy Court Judge Robyn L. Moberly has also approved an employment contract between USA Gymnastics and its new chief executive officer Li Li Leung, in which Leung will receive $450,000 in annual salary and as much as $90,000 in annual bonuses, according to filings with the court.
In asking Moberly to approve the contract, an attorney for USA Gymnastics emphasized Leungs ability to rehabilitate the organizations image with corporate sponsors and other groups.
“With nearly two decades of sports business experience at the highest levels, Ms. Leung is well equipped to restore confidence in USA Gymnastics with its members and corporate sponsors and other key stakeholders,” Catherine Steege, an attorney for USA Gymnastics, wrote in a March 5 court filing.
Leung, a former NBA vice president who competed for the U.S. at the 1988 Jr. Pan American Games, came under fire this week for comments she made related to the Nassar scandal during an interview with NBCs “Today” show.
“I was seen by Larry Nassar myself, but I was not abused by him, and the reason why I wasnt abused by him is because my coach was by my side when he saw me,” Leung said. “I was seen by him in a public setting and so I understand what the setting needs to be like in order to ensure safety for our athletes.”
Leung later apologized for the comments, acknowledging that they were “insensitive.”
USA Gymnastics filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in December against the backdrop of the U.S. Olympic Committee initiating decertification procedures against the national governing body and investigations of the organization by the Justice Department and law enforcement in Texas and Indiana. USA Gymnastics has also received criticism from former Olympians and Congress for the national governing bodys alleged role in enabling and then covering up Nassars sexual abuse of Olympic and World Championships gold medalists and more than 200 young athletes.
The Chapter 11 case has led to a stay on all legal proceedings and litigation, including discovery, against USA Gymnastics. The USOC also cited the bankruptcy case as a reason for putting the decertification process on hold, a move that prompted Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), chairman of the Senate finance committee, this week to set a May 10 deadline for the organization to explain its decision to the Senate.
Leung, who as NBA vice president negotiated and managed agreements with the leagues global sponsors, was hired as USA Gymnastics fourth president and chief executive officer in 23 months in February.
Under the employment contract Moberly approved on March 29, Leung is eligible to receive annual bonuses between 10 and 20 percent of her annual salary each year.
After graduating from Michigan, where she was a gymnast, Leung worked for ZOU Marketing Limited as an account director for Electronic Arts and Reebok. Leung worked for nine years as a managing director for Helios Partners LLC, a now defunct global sports marketing firm that specialized in corporate sponsorships, brand assessments and helping cities bid for mega-events like the Olympic Games and World Cup.
- Scott Touzinsky leaves Long Beach State volleyball program after sexual misconduct probe
- Senate wants USOC to explain halt in decertification of USA Gymnastics