Jones: I never signed or endorsed checks

NEW YORK -- A $7,350 check from track star Marion Jones'
bank account was written to the founder of the California lab at
the center of a performance-enhancing drug scandal, The New York
Times reported Saturday.

Citing two people familiar with the bank records -- previously
noted in a government affidavit -- the newspaper said the check was
written to Victor Conte of the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative.

Jones, who competed Saturday at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia,
said she had no knowledge of the check.

"I never signed, endorsed, agreed upon or sent any checks to
BALCO," Jones said. "I'm not in a position to comment on any
other person. I can't say what it might have been for. I don't

A grand jury probe of BALCO has led to charges against Conte,
company vice president James Valente, track coach Remi Korchemny
and Greg Anderson, the personal trainer for baseball star Barry
Bonds. All have pleaded innocent.

Jones did not comment on any association with Conte on Saturday, but she has in the past admitted to having a "conversation or two," according to The New York Times, though she insists she's never bought anything from him or his company.

The Times reported that Jones' lawyers, while not disputing the
check came from her account, said Friday that Jones had not signed
or authorized the check to Conte.

While Jones' lawyers declined to say who had signed the check,
the newspaper reported that two other people familiar with the
check said the signature belonged to C.J. Hunter, Jones' former
husband who was once an elite shot putter. The Times said attempts
to reach Hunter on Friday night were unsuccessful.

Jones said she has not been in touch with Hunter.

Hunter and Conte made news just before the 2000 Sydney Olympics
when four separate tests showed the shot putter had 1,000 times the
allowable amount of the steroid nandrolone in his system. Conte
took the blame, claiming the positive tests were the result of
contaminated iron supplements he had supplied to Hunter.

The check to Conte was deposited on Sept. 8, 2000, a week before
the Sydney Olympics. Jones won three gold medals and two bronze
medals in Sydney.

Jones testified last year before the grand jury investigating

"I'm confident in the near future my name will be cleared from
this whole situation," Jones said. "The people that truly do know
me, know what kind of person I am."

When asked if she felt singled out, Jones told the New York Times, "I think that the position that I am in, in the sport, my association with people in the past, perhaps has been in question. But I don't think that people are out to get me.

"If you really want to do research, you can just look at my improvement," Jones said. "When I've run faster and when I've run slower, that it's all in line with an athlete that's just working hard and that is talented."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.