Sports Outside the Beltway

Al Capone, Pete Rose, Barry Bonds

Sounds like some Karnac the Magnificent puzzle doesn’t it? No, it is three people whose downfall was or could be failure to report all their income to the IRS. From AP-

SAN FRANCISCO – The easy money Barry Bonds made by aggressively selling his name, likeness and sports equipment through his Web site and brief autograph sessions in hotel conference rooms could prove to be the embattled slugger’s legal undoing.

A federal grand jury is probing whether he paid taxes on some of that fortune, and key government witnesses include a scorned business partner and a jilted lover who profited from the name “Barry Bonds.” He also is being investigated for allegedly lying to another federal grand jury about his steroid use.

Legal analysts said proving the Giants star cheated the IRS out of its cut of memorabilia sales is far easier to prove than perjury.

If so, Bonds wouldn’t be the first professional athlete to run afoul of the IRS over sales of autographed jerseys, balls and baseball cards.

Pete Rose in 1990 served five months in prison for not reporting income from memorabilia. Several other prominent players — including Darryl Strawberry and Hall of Famers Duke Snider and Willie McCovey — were busted in the 1990s for not properly reporting such income.

Brian Hennigan, a Los Angeles lawyer who represented Strawberry when the baseball player pleaded guilty to tax evasion in 1995, said it’s relatively easy to fall into tax trouble because the memorabilia business is largely cash-and-carry.

Sports memorabilia is a multimillion-dollar enterprise for professional athletes. Bonds sells his jerseys for as much as $1,900 on his Web site.


A Bonds indictment could come as soon as Thursday when the grand jury investigating his case is expected to end its service.

But the grand jury’s term could be extended or a new panel could be given the investigation, former prosecutors said.

If reports are correct, Bonds is in deep tahe. This will probably bring about the end of his baseball career but not end the debate over whether he used steroids or not. Barring Barry making a confession, that controversy like whether Pete Rose bet on baseball will rage on for years.

Related Stories:
Recent Stories:

Comments are Closed


Visitors Since Feb. 4, 2003

All original content copyright 2003-2008 by OTB Media. All rights reserved.