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Posted at 12:40 AM ET, 01/13/2011

Crystal Palace Baltimore is being sued by its youth academy coaches for unpaid wages

By Steve Goff

Seven former youth academy coaches for Crystal Palace Baltimore have filed suit against the financially beleaguered second-division club for breach of contract.

According to a complaint filed in the District Court of Maryland for Baltimore County, the group is seeking more than $20,000 collectively in unpaid wages between 2008 and 2010.

"Towards the end of the two-year contract period, Crystal Palace began to avoid paying the coaches their respective and earned compensation for handling its developmental soccer academy duties," the court document states. "All communications and demands with Crystal Palace have not led to full payment. Moreover, Crystal Palace has attempted to avoid its financial responsibilities with inaction, thereby seriously and adversely affecting the coaches' financial interests."

For more.....

The plaintiffs are Matt Smith, former head coach of Johns Hopkins University and the Crystal Palace academy director; Keith Tabatznik, former head coach at Georgetown; Curtis Landy, a former Howard assistant; Washington College Coach Drew Hoffman; American University Coach Todd West; former Navy assistant Patrick Kennedy; and Phil Wellington, an ex-Georgetown goalkeeper. Smith and Tabatznik are seeking the largest amounts ($4,374.99 apiece).

Crystal Palace Baltimore spent three seasons in USL-2, the third tier of the American soccer system, before moving to the second-division North American Soccer League last year. After shuttling between five venues for home games witnessed by small crowds, the club announced last month that it would not field a team in 2011 and hopes to reorganize for 2012.

The organization also parted ways with its famed namesake, Crystal Palace, which is having its own financial problems. The London-based club funneled a small annual payment to the U.S. affiliate.

CP Baltimore is owned by Randall Medd, a real estate investor and options trader; his son, Pete Medd; and Jim Cherneski. Pete Medd and Cherneski were co-coaches.

During the season, players complained of late payments and inadequate meal per diems.

By Steve Goff  | January 13, 2011; 12:40 AM ET
Categories:  USA 2nd division  | Tags:  Crystal Palace Baltimore  
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Next: 2011 MLS draft in Baltimore

Comments

Late pay? how bout no pay. I hear they're still waiting on that last month of wages. The irresponsibility of that management is criminal.

Posted by: PAMALAMU | January 13, 2011 7:14 AM | Report abuse

I loved that club.

I got to the point where I had more fun following Baltimore than DC United--that isn't a knock on DC. It was a combination of things-helping to try and "build" something (something that I wish I had played a more active role in back in the early days of DC), the accessibility of the players and the ownership/coaching staff.

It was cool to be "down" with the club from the first preseason of the first season.

I enjoyed being a season ticket holder (even last year, as difficult as it was--missing so many home games due to the scheduling and venue changes).

I got to know the Medds and Jim Cherneski. They were very kind to me and my family. So were a lot of the players, their families and other staff.

I am really, really saddened by what has occurred because I was very emotionally invested in the club.

I know that the ownership had the best of intentions and that they still desire to make a comeback under a different name. They are good people. I sincerely believe that and once again, publicly thank them for providing me with another club to root for and love over the last four seasons.

I just want people to know that there were some very positive things about the club. Good intentions alone don't pay bills--people and organizations have to be compensated. I hope that "justice" can be done by everyone who ares still seeking compensation that they are entitled to.

All of this rambling is pretty much just to say that I still respect and admire the organization, even in the wake of some of the issues that have become public.

Crystal Palace USA/Baltimore was an Baltimore was an incredibly ambitious undertaking. The Medds and Cherneski dropped a ton of coin into trying to make it work. They invested and lost a lot of money.

They did their best and I am sorry to see the state that things are in.

There were some really of good things about the club that don't undo or marginalize the legitimate financial issues--there were some positive things in addition to the negative things that have come out and I am hoping that everyone gets anything owed to them.

Posted by: yankiboy | January 13, 2011 9:16 AM | Report abuse

If you want good soccer in Baltimore, just go watch the Baltimore Bays U19 team. And it's free.

And if you wait a year or two, you'll have your own MLS team.

Posted by: Rand-al-Thor | January 13, 2011 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Interesting but demoralizing reporting from the WSJ on the Qatar world cup bid

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203513204576047681613086452.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Posted by: OWNTF | January 13, 2011 10:23 AM | Report abuse

Yankiboy--

Agreed about CP Baltimore and grateful for your comment. Not nearly as close with the franchise, but the club was great to us and insured that my daughter became a fan of the sport.

Doesn't excuse not making financial obligations, but also doesn't merit the consistent derision towards an ambitious undertaking that fell short.

Posted by: CPAddick | January 13, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

This isn't the first time CP has defaulted on wages to the academy coaches. My son was training with one of the youth teams a few years ago. At the end of spring tryouts the coach announced the team was no longer going to play under CP. You can probably guess which club they ended up going to, but the reason was due to unpaid wages to academy coaches. I don't know if that went to lawsuit or not. It's a shame because the club had a nice thing going in a soccer rich area. I enjoyed watching them play at cozy UMBC stadium.

Posted by: peridigm | January 13, 2011 12:32 PM | Report abuse

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