Thursday, January 30, 2003

Tax lien harming Rose's case

Baseball had been unaware of debt to IRS

By John Erardi
and Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Pete Rose has damaged his case for reinstatement to baseball by failing to pay a $151,690 outstanding federal tax lien, a high-ranking baseball official close to the investigation said Wednesday.

"We didn't know about it," said the baseball official, who requested that his name not be used. "It didn't help Pete any. He's not making his (case for) reinstatement any easier."

The Internal Revenue Service filed the lien against Rose in Los Angeles County, where the Rose family resides in a $1million condominium. The lien, first reported by the Enquirer last week (STORY), prevents Rose from selling any property in the county without paying off the debt, which stems from his 1998 tax return.

Rose spent five months in federal prison in Marion, Ill., in 1990 for under-reporting his income from sports-memorabilia sales. His accountant said his latest troubles with the IRS - which filed the lien in 2000 - have nothing to do with what got him in trouble 13 years ago.

The reason Rose didn't pay the $151,960 is because he couldn't afford to, the accountant said.

The California Franchise Tax Board also filed a lien against Rose for $2,772 over his 1997 state tax returns, but it was paid in 2000.

The baseball official also told the Enquirer that recent reports of Rose betting in Las Vegas casinos aren't helping his case. But the source couldn't shed additional light on any casino gambling by Rose. It had been reported that Rose was seen gambling at Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas and was in the sports book at Caesars Palace. Subsequent to that report, an official at Caesars denied to the Enquirer via e-mail that Rose had gambled there.

The baseball source said there is no timetable for Rose's reinstatement, so it is "hard to say" how much Rose has set himself back by getting into trouble again with the IRS and by allegedly betting in casinos.

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