Timbers settle portion of lawsuit in Polo case
Génessis Alarcón, the estranged wife of former Portland Timbers midfielder Andy Polo, has settled the portion of her domestic violence lawsuit that relates to the club.
According to a court document submitted for filing late Thursday, Alarcón has settled with the Timbers, a subsidiary of Peregrine Sports LLC. The two-page filing, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, stated, “Ms. Alarcon and the Portland Timbers attended confidential mediation yesterday and reached a fair settlement.”
Terms of the settlement weren’t disclosed. The club didn’t immediately respond for comment.
The filing, made in the Circuit Court for the State of Oregon for Multnomah County, adds that Alarcón’s case against Polo will continue. She is seeking upward of $600,000 in damages from Polo.
Alarcón’s attorney Michael Fuller couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, but prior to the settlement being reached, he told ESPN, “We’re working hard to resolve the claims with the Timbers so we can keep the focus on Mr. Polo.”
The suit was filed earlier this month in federal court, before being refiled in state court. Initially, Polo was the only defendant, but the Timbers were added when the case was refiled. The Timbers had been facing a claim of negligence, with Alarcón asking for upward of $600,000 in damages plus punitive damages.
According to the refiled lawsuit, it is alleged that the Timbers “breached its duty and its standard of care by failing to take any reasonable actions to prevent or stop Mr. Polo’s continued abuse of Ms. Alarcon and the breach of this duty foreseeably resulted, and was substantial factor, in Ms. Alarcon suffering significant and ongoing harm and emotional distress as a result of Mr. Polo’s further abusive conduct.”
The settlement comes two days after an investigation initiated by Major League Soccer into the Timbers’ handling of the domestic violence allegations made by Alarcón against Polo and conducted by the law firm Proskauer Rose, found that the Timbers didn’t induce or pressure Alarcón into forgoing the filing of charges against Polo.
The investigation also concluded that the Timbers didn’t cover up the incident, though MLS fined the Timbers $25,000 for failing to report the incident of alleged domestic abuse to the league.
Proskauer Rose has a longstanding business relationship with MLS that dates back to the league’s founding.
The lawsuit stems from an alleged instance of domestic violence that occurred on May 23, 2021. According to an incident report obtained by ESPN from the Washington County Sheriff’s Department, on that day, Polo was “issued a citation in lieu of arrest for harassment after grabbing onto [Alarcón]’s wrist.” The citation is classified as a B misdemeanor. The police report adds, “[Alarcón] said Andy and she had been arguing for the past two days. She told me today she was home in the kitchen cleaning when Andy came home. She said Andy wanted to take her cellphone back because he wanted to take back everything, he has ever given her. She told him she did not have it. She said during the argument Andy reached out and grabbed her right wrist and scratched it. She showed me the underside of her right wrist and I saw what appeared to be a light red abrasion.”
The police report goes on to detail that two Timbers employees, Gabriel Jaimes, who is the manager of players affairs and professional development, and the team’s head of security, Jim McCausland, who is a former Portland Police Bureau detective, later arrived at the residence. The report also states that “[McCausland] told me he would make sure that peace would be maintained inside the house. He said if he needed to move Andy or [Alarcón] out of the home to maintain safety and security, he would take care of it. He assured me no further incidents would take place.”
Alarcón made her allegations public in February on the Peruvian television show “Magaly TV, La Firme,” on which she stated, “[Polo] pulled my hair. I fell to the floor. He slapped me in the face and gave me a black eye.”
After Alarcón’s public allegations, Portland suspended Polo from team activities and then on Feb. 10 cut ties with him. The club had picked up Polo’s contract option in December despite knowledge of the May 2021 incident. It later emerged that the MLS Players Association filed a grievance on Polo’s behalf, and MLS paid Polo the money left on his contract. He has since signed with Peruvian club Universitario Deportes, but his contract is contingent on him resolving his legal issues, according to a team executive.
Neither Alarcón nor the Washington County District Attorney’s office opted to pursue criminal charges against Polo.
Earlier this month, Alarcón told ESPN that two Timbers representatives, later identified as McCausland and Christine Mascal, met with her two weeks after the incident, and offered inducements for her to drop the charges.
“They were going to help me, and make sure me and my kids didn’t get left on the street,” Alarcón said with the help of an interpreter. “They were going to make sure that Andy was going to be responsible for me and my kids, but it never happened. I was told this would be in exchange for not pressing charges.”
MLS’s report confirmed that the meeting with Alarcón, a friend who acted as an interpreter, McCausland and Mascal took place, but concluded that no inducements were offered by the Timbers. This conclusion was reached due to the Timbers providing assistance to Alarcón before and after the May incident. After listening to a recording of the meeting, which lasted nearly 55 minutes, the investigation concluded that it didn’t include an offer of inducements and that Alarcón understood that the decision not to pursue charges was hers alone.
But in the conversation, a recording of which was obtained by ESPN, Mascal and McCausland discussed with Alarcón that they’ve arranged for Polo to pay her $400 per month for living expenses such as food. Alarcón said that’s not enough, and the representatives said they would pass the request for more money on to Polo. They also discussed using resources from the Oregon Department of Human Services.
Later, the two representatives discussed the case with Alarcón, with Mascal explaining to Alarcón that with the assault she described, Polo is facing up to a year in jail. Alarcón, with the help of an interpreter, explained that she doesn’t want Polo to go to prison because she loves him.
Mascal then stated that what Polo is “trying to do now, though, is to give you everything you need and to get going in your life here and make it easier on you and your family.” She later told Alarcón she’s “sorry you’re going through this.”
But later Mascal asked Alarcón to let her know if the district attorney calls Alarcón. She later said, “The office may call you to see if you want to pursue those charges. And again, you can say ‘Yes, I want to,’ or ‘No, I do not.’ Of course we’re hoping you say, no, you did not. But if you decided that you want him to go through the court system, I kind of need to know that.”
Mascal went on to explain that if Alarcón pursues charges, it will go to a trial that could last as long as two days, and that Alarcón will have to testify before a jury. In addition to up to a year in jail, the representative said Polo could get a fine up to $6,250, and while Polo likely wouldn’t get a year sentence, he would get some jail time and be on probation for up to three years.
Mascal then said, “Of course, [Polo] probably doesn’t want to go that route, right? That’s why we’re telling him to get you what you need. Hopefully it doesn’t end up in a trial situation.”
Alarcón responded that the only thing she needs is help to get her on her feet.