EXCLUSIVE: Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez paid cousin Yuri Sucart nearly $1 million to keep quiet about his PED use
Rodriguez, who just finished serving a season-long ban for his role in the Biogenesis scandal, entered into a confidential settlement with Sucart on June 5, 2013, agreeing to pay Sucart one $700,000 payment for his silence, in addition to three more payments made to Sucart that totalled $200,000, according to court papers filed last week in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Hell hath no fury like a cousin scorned.
Alex Rodriguez’s infamous “Cousin Yuri Sucart” threatened to expose the Yankee superstar’s doping secrets unless the scandal-ridden slugger coughed up “enormous sums of money,” according to court papers filed last week in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.
Rodriguez caved, entering into a confidential settlement with Sucart on June 5, 2013, agreeing to pay Sucart one $700,000 payment for his silence, in addition to three more payments made to Sucart that totalled $200,000.
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.
By then, Rodriguez was already embroiled in Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic scandal that would result in the suspension of 14 players, including Rodriguez. A-Rod had aready made a limited confession of steroid use in 2009 when he said in a press conference that he had decided to use steroids provided by his cousin from 2001 to 2003.
In one telling passage in the 2012 letter written by Sonn, the lawyer wrote: “Yuri, even after he was accused of being a steroid mule for you, kept your confidences of all your activities while you played for the Rangers and the Yankees.”
Sucart is a defendant in the sprawling 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.
Prosecutor Patrick Sullivan said in the court papers that Rodriguez “has a prominent role in the government’s proof of Count 1 and Count 2 conspiraces to distribute testosterone and human growth hormone,” which suggests the disgraced Yankee slugger may be a witness against Sucart.
“That is what it sounds like. It sounds like A-Rod is a potential witness against his cousin,” Sucart’s court-appointed attorney, Edward O’Donnell IV, told the Daily News. “They are not allies, that’s for sure, or friends.”
Rodriguez received the letter demanding money just as the investigations by MLB and federal agents in Florida were heating up. He didn’t begin paying Sucart until two months before MLB commissioner Bud Selig hit Rodriguez with a 211-game suspension, eventually reduced to 162 games plus the postseason.
“(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 coninued: “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.”
The United States Attorney’s office in Miami declined comment Monday. Rodriguez’s spokesman did not immediately return a call from the Daily News.
Sucart has been charged with conspiracy to distribute testosterone and human growth hormone, charges stemming from the MLB and federal investigations into Biogenesis.
The court documents were posted Monday after a judge ordered Sucart to pay $600 a month for a court-appointed attorney to represent him; he had claimed indigence, saying he could not afford to pay a lawyer.
The government, according to court filings, also obtained a summary-document from the Department of Revenue, which outlines Sucart’s financial earnings as paid by Rodriguez, stretching back to 2003 and “continuing through the third quarter of 2013.”
“The government also has prepared a chart that summarizes the payments, and totals them up by year. Payments for 2008 totaled approximately $65,000; for year 2009, $93,000; for 2010, $110,000; for 2011, $105,000; for 2012, $68,000; for 2013, $42,000,” reads the court document. “The sums of money obtained by defendant in the past several years as a result of his association with Alexander Rodriguez are more than adequate for defendant to retain a defense attorney at his own expense. He should not be found entitled to the services of a CJA attorney, and his attempt to justify such an appointment by the averments of his wholly inadequate and extremely misleading Financial Report should be rejected.”
The motion goes on to say that the government will “prove that defendant personally arranged meetings between Rodriguez and Bosch, where Bosch injected Rodriguez with PEDs; and that defendant received an ample cut of the payments Rodriguez made to Bosch.”