"Bookkeeper' started it all
Sabo suit exposed Schott's slurs

Sunday, October 25, 1998

BY JOHN ERARDI
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Tim Sabo, who six years ago was described by Marge Schott as "just a bookkeeper, honey," was a distant ripple in 1992. But the ripple became a tidal wave.

It was his wrongful-firing lawsuit filed in November 1992 in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court that made public Mrs. Schott's comments about African-Americans, Jews, mothers who worked outside the home and a variety of ethnic groups.

Mr. Sabo was the Reds' chief financial officer in the late 1980s. Documents filed with the court claimed that Mrs. Schott called former Reds outfielders Eric Davis and Dave Parker her "million-dollar niggers" and that she showed racial bias running the Reds' front office.

Depositions from Roger Blaemire, former Reds vice president of business operations, and Cal Levy, former Reds director of marketing and now the club's marketing consultant, alleged that Mrs. Schott had said "sneaky goddamn Jews are all alike," that she could not understand why keeping a Nazi swastika in her home was not offensive to some, and that she did not encourage minorities working in the day-to-day operation.

Mr. Sabo said Friday he felt only "melancholy" and not vindication when he heard Mrs. Schott had agreed to sell her controlling shares of the franchise.

Mr. Sabo said he knows he did the right thing by exposing Mrs. Schott's treatment of people and ethnic groups in the community and the Reds' front office.

"The test of time proved me accurate that I was the one telling the truth," he said.

His biggest regret is that Major League Baseball did not act in 1992 more quickly and strongly.

He said he had provided baseball with all the material that ultimately led to Mrs. Schott agreeing Friday to sell her two controlling shares.

Besides telling baseball about the things she said and did regarding minorities and various other people, he told baseball about her use of Reds employees' names in an allegedly fraudulent manner to improve her sales record at her General Motors auto dealership.

"She put the community through an awful lot," Mr. Sabo said. "It's time to focus on a new ballpark, on the team becoming competitive and to become known as a "baseball town' again."

He said baseball has been revived in most major-league cities -- thanks to a marvelous season, given the home-run chase and all the offensive records that were set -- but not in Cincinnati.

Mrs. Schott "is the one thing that's different" from other baseball cities, Mr. Sabo said. "We've got good fans here."


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