[MLS SPOTLIGHT]As former Philadelphia Union coach Peter Nowak's lawsuit against the MLS club for wrongful termination continues in federal court, allegations have emerged in correspondence between attorneys for both sides that the Union had reason to believe Nowak "may have improperly profited from player transactions over the past 12-18 months."
Documents posted by Jonathan Tannenwald at philly.com's The Goalkeeper provide new details about the case of Piotr Nowak vs. Pennsylvania Professional Soccer, LLC, and Keystone and Entertainment, LLC, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Seeking to dismiss Nowak after the Union's poor start to the 2012 MLS season, the Union sought to reach a separation and release agreement with Nowak for various misconduct but moved to terminate him for cause when he did not sign.
Nowak's attorney alleges the Union threatened to pursue a criminal complaint against the former U.S. Olympic team coach if he did not resign and said he would pursue an ethical complaint against the Union's attorney.
In an exchange of emails between attorneys, the Union's attorney said the club was continuing its investigation into Nowak's conduct in player transfers but that it was unrelated to the reasons for firing him.
Judge Mary A. McLaughlin must rule on the Union's motion to dismiss Nowak's suit on the ground his contract calls for the matter to go before an arbitrator and not into court.
Nowak led the Union to the MLS playoffs in 2011 but made wholesale changes in the team in the offseason.
Star Sebastien Le Toux was traded to the Vancouver Whitecaps -- he was later shipped to New York -- and Panamanian Gabriel Gomez, Colombian Lionard Pajoy and Costa Ricans Porfirio Lopez and Josue Martinez were brought in.
Colombian internationals Faryd Mondragon andCarlos Valdes had been signed in January 2011.
Mondragon, now 41, had an excellent season in 2011 before being hurt. Valdes is one of the best defenders in MLS and is representing Colombia in World Cup qualifying.
The quartet signed in 2012 has not done as well. Pajoy was traded to D.C. United in August, while Gomez, Lopez and Martinez have a combined 23 starts between them.