Former RSL Coach Mike Petke Files Lawsuit For Lost Salary
SANDY, Utah – Former Real Salt Lake head coach Mike Petke is suing the club for $700,000 of salary that he claims he is owed.
Petke was fired on August 11 after serving a three-game suspension for comments that he made towards the referee after RSL’s 1-0 loss to Tigres in the Leagues Cup tournament. RSL also suspended Petke from all team activities for two weeks.
The lawsuit claims that Real Salt Lake and owner Dell Loy 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.
Petke’s attorney released a statement after filing the lawsuit.
“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, Wyoming, attorney Travis Koch of Overstreet Homar & Kuker.”
According to court documents, Hansen had the team use its overwhelming power to engage in high-pressure tactics calculated to coerce the coach into publicly resigning so that Hansen’s embarrasing and improper conduct could be swept under the rug.
Petke’s attorney said that despite the team and owner’s outrageous, intentional and reckless conduct, the coach did not relent and agree to resign because he had previously signed a binding amendment to his employment contract with the team, which expressly provided that Petke would return to his position following his suspension.
Real Salt Lake has released the following statement regarding the lawsuit filed by Petke:
“Real Salt Lake (“RSL”) is aware of the lawsuit filed by former head coach Mike Petke. As previously reported by RSL, Mr. Petke’s employment was terminated for cause based upon statements and actions that are unbecoming of RSL representatives, especially our head coach. The organization stands firmly behind that difficult decision.”