Friday, July 11, 2008

Bowden and Rijo Investigated by FBI in Dominican Republic Scandal

ESPN is reporting that Bowden and Jose Rijo are being investigated...
"for their possible roles in a growing financial scandal involving the signing of players from the Dominican Republic, several sources familiar with the probe told ESPN"
The story is not specific about what Bowden and Rijo are suspected of doing, but offers this hint:
It was unclear whether Bowden and Rijo are suspected of receiving money or whether they are believed to have played some other role in the scheme.

The investigation into Bowden and others stems from a tip MLB received several months ago alleging that then-White Sox senior personnel director Dave Wilder and two of his scouts were skimming bonus money paid to Dominican signees, according to the MLB source. Wilder was stopped while trying to re-enter the United States with roughly $40,000 in cash after a trip to the Dominican Republic, a source told ESPN, sparking a broader inquiry. Wilder could not be reached for comment.

In mid-May, Wilder and scouts Victor Mateo and Domingo Toribio were fired by the White Sox, who revealed that federal authorities also were looking into the matter.

Bowden offered what we DC types call a "non-denial denial":
Bowden said he was never asked about his own activities, and denied having any role in the scandal.

"No, I've certainly not gotten that approach from baseball or the FBI," he said. "There's obviously no truth to that. As far as the rest of this goes, they're probably better questions for the FBI or baseball."

Bowden would not say what he discussed with investigators.

"We completely support trying to clean up the problems that have taken place, but there's no truth to any involvement regarding anyone here," Bowden said.

Brian at Nationals Farm Authority has concerns about the bad PR impact of the story, regardless of whether the allegations are true or not.

I share that concern. I also worry that Bowden's reputation for playing fast and loose with the truth will add to the perception that the rumor most likely is true.

We need to avoid jumping to conclusions, but no matter what, this is bad.


Update: Chico Harlan at the WaPo has some more specific quotes from Bowden, which seem to more directly deny the allegations:
Asked if he had any knowledge of or involvement with money skimming within the Washington organization, Bowden said, "No. Absolutely not."

"There's no wrongdoing. We've met with FBI investigators. There are many people throughout baseball that are going to be talking with the FBI and major league baseball trying to help get all the information out there for the problems that exist over there. We're there to help. But at no time when I met with the FBI were the questions involving around myself or Jose Rijo."


Shawn Krebs said...

Can you please show a bit of class and stop linking your posts at the Nationals Journal.

Its one thing to continually reinforce your point, whether that point has merit or not.

But its absolutely tasteless to use the publicity generated by this investigation to draw traffic to your blog.

Nationals Fan said...

I'm not sure why you think it lacks "class" to promote a blog in other forums where people who may be interested convene.

Or why it's tasteless to comment on what I think is a pretty big issue for the Nationals.

You certainly are free not to come by or read or comment if you aren't interested.