Editor's note: This is the first in a series about a former Olympian and the various complaints filed against him before he recently moved to Guam.
It’s not every day that a former Olympian comes to Guam to help with sports, but it's happening from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Agana S…
A former table tennis Olympian who recently moved to Guam and holds a community role is wanted in California in a welfare fraud case and has been suspended by his sport’s U.S. governing body, documents show.
Michael Douglas Hyatt also is the subject of complaints from several women in California. Two of the women said they were the victims of his alleged financial scam.
“I can confirm there is a warrant for his arrest,” Assistant District Attorney Jeffery Wilson, in Placer County, Sacramento, stated in a recent response to The Guam Daily Post. “He was charged on July 25, 2018, with two counts of welfare fraud and an associated count of perjury – all as felonies.”
Interviewed Sunday, Hyatt said he's not the subject of an arrest warrant in Placer County, but did say, “I have some ex-girlfriends that are after me. And … this is my life collapsing.”
“There’s no warrant. That’s what they’re telling you,” Hyatt added.
The women’s allegations are separate from the active search warrant from Placer County. In addition, Hyatt had two felony cases, one a criminal complaint involving account fraud in 2006, which the prosecution didn’t pursue in Georgia; and a bad check felony case in 2003, which was dismissed.
“He failed to appear for his court date and the warrant was issued by the court,” Wilson stated, referring specifically to only the welfare fraud case. “If he is arrested, our office will take the appropriate action to extradite him to California to answer for these charges.”
Placer County authorities have been in touch with the FBI on Guam, but the FBI can neither confirm nor deny the existence of any role it might have in Hyatt's possible arrest on Guam.
Hyatt relocated to Guam last month and up until last night, worked as the Guam Table Tennis Federation’s development and marketing director. The job has allowed him to provide training to children from elementary to high school.
He held this community role on Guam while his suspension by USA Table Tennis for alleged sexual misconduct stands. The suspension is for a case involving an adult, but no other details were available. USA Table Tennis is the nonprofit governing body for table tennis in the United States.
Hours after the Post reached out to the Guam Table Tennis Federation Sunday, the organization decided to hold off on its association with Hyatt.
"We had instructed Hyatt if the allegations were untrue to immediately return stateside to resolve the issue," Narci Ji, the Guam Table Tennis Federation secretary-general, said in a written statement.
"Upon clearance, he is welcome back to GTTF. Meanwhile, GTTF will not endorse the efforts of Hyatt, nor is (he) allowed to use the GTTF name (or) logo," Ji stated. "We wish Michael the best of luck and we have no further comments."
The 48-year-old former Olympian represented Jamaica in table tennis in the 1992 Barcelona Games and the 1996 Atlanta Games. Hyatt remains suspended from playing in USA Table Tennis tournaments until Sept. 1, 2019, and isn’t eligible to coach until Sept. 1, 2021.
“He was suspended on the 30th of August, 2016, and he was suspended by a hearing panel because of certain allegations that were made under our SafeSport policy,” said USA Table Tennis CEO Gordon Kaye. “The results of the hearing panel are not public,” Kaye said, but did confirm "it was a violation of our SafeSport policy for sexual misconduct not involving a minor.”
The sexual misconduct complaint was handled by USA Table Tennis rather than by law enforcement authorities.
“At the request of the complainant, the matter was handled as an internal USATT matter, under our SafeSport policy,” said Kaye, who also is the organization’s secretary-general.
“The hearing panel determined the length of the suspension, and the cause of the suspension,” Kaye said. Kaye holds the additional role of being the North America president for the International Table Tennis Federation.
Hyatt denied sexual misconduct was the reason for his suspension by the table tennis governing body.
”That’s a nonissue," Hyatt said. “There is nothing true. There is an issue I had with the president of the USA Table Tennis about some sponsorship money I secured for them two or three years ago, that they didn’t acknowledge that I helped them with. I was set up. When I approached him about the money, and they didn’t comply, they suspended me."
“There is no sexual misconduct involving an adult,” he added.
Hyatt first came to Guam for a table tennis training camp in 2015 but returned to California.
In September 2018, he came back to Guam, this time to stay, he said, after obtaining a Guam driver’s license.
Since the Guam Table Tennis Federation hired Hyatt, the former Olympian had been out in the community, holding training events at the Agana Shopping Center and for certain schools.
His entry into Guam’s close-knit community came with big promises, including that he would prepare someone to be a table tennis Olympian.
“Between now and then, I am going to produce players and get them … to the level where they can qualify for the Olympics,” Hyatt said. “We’re going to go there (the Olympics) and create history.”
“I am going to help develop Olympians here on Guam,” Hyatt, who now calls the island home, said on Oct 18. “I decided that I would take a leap of faith and put down roots, and try and help the young people to understand how to play at a higher level.”
Hyatt has said that by the 2028 Los Angeles Games, Guam will have an athlete who will not just compete in, but win Olympic matches. Hyatt made these comments on Oct. 18, when interviewed by the Post for a story to preview his Oct. 20 table tennis demonstration at the Agana Shopping Center.