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Friday, January 24
Updated: July 16, 3:08 PM ET
MLB official: Rose's Hall eligibility could be affected

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Pete Rose is in tax trouble again, and baseball's security department is investigating the career hits leader as he negotiates a possible end to his lifetime ban.

Baseball commissioner Bud Selig's position on the talks -- and Rose's eligibility for the Hall of Fame -- could be affected by the tax revelations, a high-ranking baseball official said Friday on condition of anonymity. Selig refused to comment.

Rose, who served a five-month prison sentence a decade ago on tax charges, owes $151,689 in federal taxes from 1998, according to the Los Angeles County Recorder's Office. The Internal Revenue Service has filed a lien on a home he owns in suburban Los Angeles, property tax records show.

Rose agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989 after an investigation into his gambling. He is ineligible for the Hall as long as he's barred from the sport.

In addition, The Cincinnati Post reported Thursday that Rose was seen gambling this week at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas and that he was seen in the sports book this week at Caesars Palace.

Rose's manager, Warren Greene, and an accountant who has represented Rose in California, David Stern, did not return telephone calls Friday seeking comment.

Caesars Palace spokesman Michael Coldwell said Friday he didn't know if Rose had visited the casino's sports book, but it was the company's policy not to release information on guests. Sandy Zanella, a spokeswoman for MGM Mirage, which owns the Bellagio, said her company has a similar policy and declined comment.

Baseball's security department began investigating Rose earlier this month, two high-ranking baseball officials said Friday on the condition of anonymity. Selig and his staff wanted to check out Rose's activities as part of the process of considering his application for reinstatement, one of the officials said.

The tax lien, reported Friday by The Cincinnati Enquirer, was filed by the IRS on Oct. 4, 2000, on a home in Sherman Oaks, Calif., owned by Rose and his wife, Carol. The six-bedroom, five-bath home was valued at $946,000.

"We're dealing with this issue," Stern told the Enquirer. "It is absolutely, 100 percent not related to the stuff that happened in the late '80s and early '90s."

Stern, who did not respond to messages left Friday at his office in Marina del Rey, Calif., told the newspaper Rose wasn't attempting to avoid taxes, but couldn't pay the entire amount owed when he filed his 1998 tax return.

California's Franchise Tax Board also filed a lien against Rose on Sept. 17, 1999, claiming he owed $2,772 in state taxes from 1997. That was resolved on Jan. 24, 2000, according to Franchise Tax Board records.

Denise Azimi, a spokeswoman for the Franchise Tax Board, said liens can be resolved by a payment or by proving that the money was not owed. She would not specify how Rose resolved the lien filed by the state, saying the information confidential.

On April 20, 1990, the former Cincinnati Reds star pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati to two felony counts of filing false income tax returns, admitting he didn't report $354,968 in income from autograph appearances, memorabilia sales and gambling from 1984 to 1987. He paid the IRS $366,043 in back taxes, interest and penalties.

In 1989, while Rose was managing the Reds, baseball investigator John Dowd detailed 412 baseball wagers by Rose between April 8-July 5, 1987, including 52 on Cincinnati to win. Dowd's evidence included betting slips alleged to be in Rose's handwriting, and telephone and bank records.

Rose, who repeatedly has denied he bet on baseball, applied for reinstatement in September 1997, and Selig didn't rule on it, saying he saw no reason to alter the ban.

But Selig allowed aides to begin talks late in 2001, and met with Rose in Milwaukee on Nov. 25. Selig's top aide, chief operating officer Bob DuPuy, met with Rose and Greene in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Dec. 16.

Selig insisted from the start of the talks that an admission by Rose that he bet on baseball be part of any reinstatement agreement. Rose's representatives said at the start of the talks that he was prepared to do so, a high-ranking baseball official said this week on the condition of anonymity.

Selig is planning to meet with Hall of Famers, possibly before the start of spring training next month, to discuss Rose's possible reinstatement.

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