Former RSL GM Craig Waibel Subpoenaed In Former Coach’s Case

Oct 7, 2019, 9:33 PM | Updated: 10:04 pm
FILE: General view of Rio Tinto Stadium before the Seattle Sounders play Real Salt Lake on March 12...
FILE: General view of Rio Tinto Stadium before the Seattle Sounders play Real Salt Lake on March 12, 2016 in Sandy, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Former Real Salt Lake General Manager Craig Waibel has been issued a subpoena to testify and produce documents in the ongoing legal dispute between former RSL head coach Mike Petke and the team, according to court documents.

The notice requires Waibel to produce any and all documents and communications covering a wide range of topics from January 1, 2019, to the present day.

Those included communications between Waibel and Petke, MLS, RSL or RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen, discussing Petke, the July 24 Leagues Cup loss to Tigres, Waibel’s departure as the club’s general manager, Petke’s lawsuit or RSL’s termination of Petke and press releases related to Petke.

According to court documents, Waibel should appear and give testimony at the Salt Lake City offices of Bennett Tueller Johnson & Deere, which is representing Petke in the lawsuit, on Oct. 25.

RSL, which opens the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs against the Portland Timbers on Oct. 19, would play in the western conference semifinals on Oct. 23 and conference finals on Oct. 29, should the team advance that far.

RSL terminated Waibel’s contract on Sept. 27 and the club said the two parties “mutually agreed to part ways.”

According to documents filed in Petke’s lawsuit, Waibel told Petke he would be leaving the club after the 2019 season.

“Both Waibel and Zarkos also told Petke that they were no longer going to put up with Hansen’s conduct and that they had a plan to exit RSL after the season. Waibel then said, ‘It’ll be at the end of the year, because I also don’t think Dell Loy [Hansen] should ever be rewarded for who he is,’” court documents stated.

Petke was fired by RSL on Aug. 11 following a three-game suspension that Petke served for inappropriate conduct towards the official in a 1-0 loss to Liga MX-side Tigres in the Leagues Cup on July 24.

According to the lawsuit filed by Petke, the former coach’s representatives allege RSL and Hansen did not keep their binding promises to Petke after Hansen was caught on videotape improperly talking to strangers about the coach’s employment status while Petke was suspended and barred from speaking publicly about his punishment imposed by the league and team.

In those court documents, Petke’s representatives allege Hansen had the team use its power to engage in high-pressure tactics calculated to coerce Petke into publicly resigning so that Hansen’s conduct could be swept under the rug.

RSL Files Motion To Dismiss

Later Monday, legal representatives for RSL filed a motion to force arbitration or dismiss, citing MLS rules requiring disputes between teams and any employee to be arbitrated by the league’s commissioner.

“The MLS Commissioner is aware of this lawsuit, has asked Petke to withdraw his Complaint, and is prepared to arbitrate Petke’s claims,” court documents stated.

According to the motion, RSL representatives allege Petke and his legal counsel began a media campaign to attack the club and demanded an emergency meeting with RSL requesting the club continue to pay Petke’s salary before filing the complaint. The team said it requested another week to respond to Petke, but Petke and his counsel only gave RSL until noon the next day to address the matter.

Also in the motion, RSL said MLS officials reminded Petke on Sept. 24 that the league’s commissioner “has full and exclusive jurisdiction and authority to arbitrate and resolve any disputes between MLS member(s) (like [RSL]) and employees (like Mr. Petke) that relate to the member’s MLS-related business” and asked Petke to withdraw the legal complaint.

The notice of subpoena issued to Waibel is shown below; RSL’s motion to dismiss can be downloaded here.

CW Subpoena by Torben Welch on Scribd

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Former RSL GM Craig Waibel Subpoenaed In Former Coach’s Case