Whenever the Justice Department’s case against FIFA executives reaches a courtroom, one of its main witnesses will be Chuck Blazer, a high-ranking former FIFA and CONCACAF official who will likely detail just how freely money was flying around.
Details about Blazer were published last fall in a New York Daily News story with the memorable headline: “Soccer rat! The inside story of how Chuck Blazer, ex-U.S. soccer executive and FIFA bigwig, became a confidential informant for the FBI.”
There are a number of outrageous nuggets in the exposé, but the wildest concerns Blazer’s lifestyle and the Trump Tower apartment occupied by his cats. From the News:
It’s an unexpected end for Blazer, who operated with high-flying impunity for decades, inhabiting a world of private jets, famous friends, secret island getaways, offshore bank accounts and two Trump Tower apartments with sweeping views of Central Park and the crenellations of The Plaza hotel.
CONCACAF’s offices took up the entire 17th floor, but Blazer often worked from two apartments where he lived on the 49th floor in $18,000-per-month digs for himself and an adjoining $6,000 retreat largely for his unruly cats, according to a source.
“He lived like there was no tomorrow,” said one source. “He ate and drank whatever he pleased. He probably thought he’d be gone before anybody noticed what he had helped himself to.”
Blazer, 69 and suffering from colon cancer, is one of four men who pleaded guilty in the Justice Department’s corruption investigation. The News reports that the 450-pound “Falstaffian” man had other income and perks, too.
He allegedly brought in much more through a tangled web of income from commissions, offshore companies and massive expenses paid for by CONCACAF. According to evidence in CONCACAF’s 2013 Integrity Report, Blazer and other senior CONCACAF employees used credit cards linked to Blazer’s personal American Express card to rack up a staggering $29 million in charges over a period of seven years, resulting in a maze of CONCACAF expenses and his personal charges.
Blazer misappropriated at least $15 million in compensation payments from CONCACAF, including unauthorized payments of more than $11 million in commissions, $3.5 million in fees, and more than $837,000 in rent expenses, the report charged.
When the IRS and FBI caught up with him, he became an informant.