Sacramento-based Republican strategist Rob Stutzman and local chef Jonathan Wheeler have filed a class-action lawsuit against Lance Armstrong and his publishers, alleging that the infamous cyclist deceived readers in a 2001 best seller.
The 59-page suit lays out various "misrepresentations" in Armstrong's "It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life." It says Armstrong credited his Tour de France success to training, diet and drive while denying that he ever used banned substances.
The suit was filed Tuesday in Sacramento's U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, alleging unfair business practices, fraud, false advertising and deceit. The complaint seeks, among other things, attorney's fees and refunds for California customers who purchased the book.
In the face of overwhelming evidence that he used drugs during his career, Armstrong was stripped last year of his seven Tour de France titles before revealing to Oprah Winfrey last week that his perfect comeback from cancer was a "myth."
Reached by phone Wednesday, Stutzman declined to comment on the suit.
Not known for working with trial lawyers, Stutzman served as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's communications director during the former bodybuilder's first term in Sacramento. The suit says Stutzman read Armstrong's book cover to cover.
"Although Stutzman does not buy or read many books, he found Armstrong's book incredibly compelling and recommended the book to several friends," it notes.
In 2005, Stutzman talked to Armstrong when the cyclist met with the former governor.
"At that time, Stutzman thanked Defendant Armstrong for writing his book and told him it was very inspiring and that he had recommended it to friends who were fighting cancer," the suit says. "In response Armstrong thanked Stutzman."
Photo Credit: Lance Armstrong looks out at the fans prior to the start of the 2010 Amgen Tour of California in Nevada City.