COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Congratulations, you're fired.
That was essentially the message former CEO Doug Logan got from leaders of USA Track and Field, who started the process of terminating him nine days after approving a new contract that called for him to get a $140,000-per-year raise, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press.
Logan showed AP a copy of his new contract, signed by chairman and president Stephanie Hightower on June 27. On July 6, Logan was asked to meet with Hightower to receive an evaluation that led to his firing in September.
In an interview with AP this week, Logan said he negotiated the new contract "in good faith," and agreed to take an additional $140,000 a year to bring his base salary to $500,000 through the end of 2013. In return for taking more guaranteed money, Logan agreed to reduce the incentive part of his contract from a maximum of $1 million to $650,000 a year.
That would have resulted in an overall pay cut. But because he was fired, it could end up costing USATF an extra $465,000 to pay off his contract. Logan's deal calls for him to be paid the remainder of his salary -- about $1.7 million -- if fired without cause. Logan, an outspoken leader who ruffled feathers during his 26 months at USATF, said no agreement has been reached on the terms of his departure. He insists he was fired without cause.
"Regardless of whatever they want to trump up, there is no cause," Logan said. "This is not about my performance. It's about the performer."
Hightower told AP that Logan's evaluation process and his raise were issues on two separate tracks that happened to collide. She said Logan had been pushing for a rewrite of the contract he signed when he came aboard in 2008 and USATF hired compensation specialists to go through the complicated process of making sure Logan's salary and benefits were appropriate.
"We did not make this decision in a vacuum," Hightower said. "We had legal counsel who made sure we understood what the consequences of our actions would be. As a board, we're confident we've gotten good counsel on the steps we chose to follow."
She said USATF is still negotiating the terms of Logan's departure. Logan said there has been no correspondence since he was fired Sept. 13. He said he's motivated to get every penny left on the contract, which would be a significant chunk of the cash for an organization that operated on a budget of about $15 million last year and has cash reserves of about $3 million.
"I struck a fair bargain," Logan said. "I'm not going to apologize for my price tag. I was willing to work the huge numbers of hours I was working up until the end of 2013. I didn't welsh on my part of the bargain. They did."
Though he has no official role in the Olympic movement, Logan showed up this week in Colorado Springs during the U.S. Olympic Committee's annual assembly -- a typically brazen move for an outspoken leader unwilling to fade into the background after his abrupt firing.
He said the contract negotiations that wrapped up in June went very well, which left him shocked when he received a letter on July 6 asking him to come to Hightower's hometown, Columbus, Ohio, to be evaluated.
At that July 15 meeting, Logan said he was handed a letter triggering his termination process.
The letter, also reviewed by the AP, asked him to remedy three key issues in 30 days:
--Improving relationships with "internal constituencies," including coaches, agents and volunteers.
--Outline a "compelling branding strategy" and a way to increase sponsorship and revenue.
--Outline a long-term event and TV strategy.
Logan wrote a 35-page response that defended all the initiatives he'd taken over the 26 months, which included striking new deals with Nike and BMW and reaching the first 30 percent -- or $300,000 -- of his goal of finding $1 million in new revenue.
He said the relationships he had with athletes, coaches and volunteers was, indeed, fractious -- an outcome that should have been expected when they hired him.
"I am not a colorless, introverted bureaucrat," Logan said. "I have, probably, a well-deserved reputation for being an outspoken leader. They got what they bought. They got me at a price and they renegotiated the price and they knew the price of poker."
Logan's last chance to save his job came at a Sept. 11 board meeting in Las Vegas, where he was given 45 minutes to address the board -- an encounter he said did not go well.
Two days later, he was fired. Later that week, he posted the following on his Twitter account: "Instead of Trump in Boardroom got Willie Banks sitting on a bed while Fantasia and Opie were telling my staff." Banks is the three-time Olympian who told Logan he was fired. His references to Fantasia and Opie are to Hightower and vice chairman Jack Wickens.
Hightower said she could not discuss the specifics of Logan's job performance, but is aware of his outspokenness since he was fired.
"Regardless of his behavior, I'm going to choose to be respectful of him and any future aspirations he may have," she said.
Logan said it would be a concern, as a card-carrying member of USATF, to see money go to someone who isn't working there any more. Not his problem, he says. He said of the 50-or-so proposals he put in front of the USATF board -- including a divisive initiative to start monitoring coaches more closely through a coaching registry -- "I never lost a vote until the vote to fire me."