The good news is that Alex Rodriguez is working out and preparing to rejoin the New York Yankees, having served a full season suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. The bad news is that A-Rod cannot stay out of the news, even when he does not say a word.
Rodriguez’s cousin, Yuri Sucart, extorted $900,000 from him, the New York Daily News learned from court documents—hush money to not expose the Yankee third baseman’s illegal drug usage.
In a Dec. 18, 2012 letter, Sucart’s former attorney, Jeffrey Sonn, had demanded $5 million and a “life estate” for Sucart and his wife, according to the court papers. Rodriguez was caught up in Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic scandal that would result in the suspension of 14 players, including Rodriguez.
Sucart is a defendant in the federal case involving Biogenesis and its owner, Anthony Bosch. Sucart has pleaded not guilty in the case; Bosch has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.
Part of the extortion letter sent to Rodriguez read:
“(Yuri) was trained to serve as a personal assistant to professional baseball players,” Sonn wrote, referencing Rodriguez’s refusal to continue to pay Sucart for his past services. “Due to your use of performance-enhancing substances, Yuri was wrongly blamed. Nonetheless, Yuri remains able and willing to continue to serve you and your needs as a personal assistant, within the restrictions that baseball has placed upon him. He does not wish to and does not intend to ever speak to the MLB unless he is subpoenaed.”
The letter continued: “Given the sudden breach of your longstanding agreement with Yuri, he wishes to propose that you provide to him payment for his past services rendered, and for the loyalty he has shown you. Therefore, Yuri requests that you now pay him for the past services rendered and to fulfill your promise to support he and his family for life. That sum is $5 million and a life estate for he and his wife in the house (free and clear of any liens or mortgages) where he is currently living.”
Rodriguez eventually made payments of $700,000 and others totaling $200,000.
Curtis Bunn is a best-selling novelist and national award-winning sports journalist who has worked at The Washington Times, NY Newsday, The New York Daily News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.