Team owes Petke nearly $700,000 in salary on 3-year contract
DALLAS – The former head coach of the Real Salt Lake (RSL) Major League Soccer club has filed suit against the team, claiming, among other things, the team and its owner, Dell Loy Hansen, broke a legally binding promise that was part of an amendment to the coach’s contract.
Mike Petke was approximately 18 months into his three-year contract with RSL when he was dismissed on Aug. 11. According to the terms of the contract, the team owes him his salary for the remainder of 2019 and all of 2020.
Mr. Petke’s dismissal followed a two-week suspension related to his actions in an incident with an international official following a Leagues Cup match. RSL also levied additional sanctions, which were outlined in a contract amendment signed by the coach and RSL leadership. Although the amendment expressly stipulates that future infractions could result in his dismissal, RSL removed Mr. Petke as coach the day before he was scheduled to return to the team.
“The amendment was clear about what club leaders expected of Mike. He was following that amendment to the letter and looking forward to returning to his team when he was blindsided by ownership,” said Mr. Petke’s attorney, Clayton Bailey of Dallas’ Bailey Brauer PLLC. “The decision was announced in a way calculated to damage his reputation, not just as a coach, but also personally. Refusing to pay the remainder of his salary is a move designed to inflict additional, unwarranted economic damage.”
“What happened here is fairly simple. RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen was recorded contradicting the agreement while speaking to another team’s fans, became embarrassed, and later fired Mike when he had no business doing so,” said Cheyenne attorney Travis Koch of Overstreet Homar & Kuker.
The case is Mike Petke vs. Utah Soccer, LLC, d/b/a Real Salt Lake, a Utah Limited liability company, No. 190907265 in the Third Judicial District Court of Salt Lake County. Also representing Mr. Petke is Ben Stewart of Bailey Brauer and Barry N. Johnson and Ryan B. Braithwaite of Bennett Tueller Johnson & Deere in Salt Lake City.
About Bailey Brauer PLLC
Bailey Brauer PLLC is nationally recognized for its trial and appellate work and provides battle-tested, sophisticated courtroom experience in high-stakes litigation matters. The firm focuses on complex commercial litigation, appeals, and class actions. Learn more about the firm at: http://baileybrauer.com/.