1999-2010

Monday, February 18, 2008

EXCLUSIVE! CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE SET TO LAUNCH INVESTIGATION OF THE ISRAEL BASEBALL LEAGUE'S FINANCES


The chairman of the US Congressional hearing into steroid use by Major League pitching superstar Roger Clemens may be turning his committee’s attention to Boston businessman Larry Baras and how he channeled funds raised in the United States that were earmarked for the Israel Baseball League but remain unaccounted for.

Tabloid Baby has learned exclusively that Rep. Henry A. Waxman of California’s 30th District, the target of criticism for using the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to focus on Clemens— and who reportedly expressed regret for doing so— is being urged to continue on the baseball trail to investigate how Baras and his team spent as much as $3 million in funds from US investors for a 2007 IBL season that ended in shambles, with more than a million dollars in debts and no accounting of how money was spent.

“Waxman’s taking heat for a hearing that didn’t answer any questions and only hurt Clemens’ reputation even more,” says our source. “But some people are saying an investigation into the IBL is a great way to save face. The fact that Baras won’t say what he did with the money, that he spent it in the Middle East, and that American investors are crying foul makes this a major issue-- and a Homeland Security issue if you want to stretch it. Is this money in a shoebox or was it spread across the Gaza Strip?

“Waxman’s a major supporter of Israel, and don’t forget that the commissioner (of the IBL) is a former ambassador to Israel. And look, Waxman and Congress couldn’t find the nine billion dollars that went missing in Iraq. Maybe they can find a million dollars between here and Israel.”

Waxman, indeed, has been a lifelong supporter of Israel in and out of Congress, and is known as the “Dean” of the 27 Jewish House members.

Our sources say the idea to put Baras and the IBL under the spotlight came up during the Clemens hearing when Clemens referred to current IBL director of baseball operations Dan Duquette. Duquette was general manager of the Boston Red Sox in 1996, and before the steroid and HGH allegations came up, had come under more than a decade’s ridicule for doing so.

"We'll leave his name out of it," Clemens said with a sneer—though sportswriters and baseball fans everywhere knew he meant Duquette when he continued: “He made what I feel was a smart-aleck remark that I was in the 'twilight of my career.’ And in that 1996 season when I was in the twilight of my career, I tied my own single-season record of 20 strikeouts. I led the league in strikeouts that year. I was in the top 10 in innings pitched and ERA. If I was in the twilight of my career, I doubt the Toronto Blue Jays would have made me the highest-paid pitcher in baseball the following year."

The Duquette swipe has been repeated in the media this past week, and according to our source, led to the call to Waxman.

"Waxman and Congress
couldn’t find

nine billion dollars
that went missing in Iraq.

Maybe they can find
a million dollars

between here and Israel.”

“There’s no way around the fact that the so-called dream of professional baseball in Israel is an offshore, American-financed operation,” says our source. “Money was raised. It supposedly was funneled into the Middle East. But the people in the Middle East who were supposed to be paid, weren’t. And Baras won’t open up the books. This is a no-brainer for Waxman. All he has to do is follow the money.”

Baras is already facing accusation of federal securities fraud in a lawsuit from an investor in his company, SJR Foods, who claims her investment in a product called the “Unholey Bagel” was used by Baras for personal expenses and IBL start-up.

No lawsuits have been filed in connection with the IBL debts, which the New York Times estimated at over $1 million.

Ironically, the idea that Waxman would look into the IBL was floated on this site in January—as a joke, when we asked Our Man Elli in Israel:

“Any truth to the rumour that after they’re done taking testimony on steroids from Roger Clemens, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is planning to take testimony on fraud from Larry Baras?”

Elli’s response? “Good night.”

(Do you think Congress should use its valuable time to look into the IBL? You can reach Rep. Henry Waxman in Washington at 202.225.3976, or at his Los Angeles office at 323.651.1040, 818.878.7400 or 310.652.3095. What, no 800 number?)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

**

It doesn't ring true. It's not within the purview of the federal government to ascertain if investors of the IBL were defrauded. That's a civil suit for civil court.

Homeland Security - is there reason to believe Larry Baras is funding Hamas? Waxman is getting grilled for wasting taxpayer's money for a subcommittee session that was unneeded and uncalled for; he's now going to call a hearing on the IBL?

Anonymous said...

How desperate is this guy Elii. Incredible. This is so friggin stupid. oH yeah and here is an exclusive from the new IPBL, 3 people signed for the tryout. hey , they can have 3 teams with 3 people.

I heard Chass is going to call waxman and find out where Elli got his info and will put this in the Times how Elli is taking cheap shots just for the fun of it.

Elli , better find something more interesting , fast.

Anonymous said...

This is a waste of taxpayers money. The IBl affects such a small group of people and the unfortunate reality is that everyday people are ripped off. As much as I believe that it is probably only a congressional hearing that would get Larry to divulge what he did with the money this just is not going to happen.

Easy predictions: There will be no IBL or IPBL in 2008; there will be no accounting of where the money went; lawsuits will be filed with no resolution and it will be several years before a professional league is started again when memories of this fiasco fade away.

jew're out said...

ooh ooh ooh! sic Murray Chass on Our Man Elli! Chass has been chasing Eli's lead for months. better luck next time larry

Anonymous said...

Hey guys... forget about the so-called congressional hearings. Holyland Hardball, the movie is supposed to come out in March. It shows Larry as this wonderful, gnerous guy who is bringing baseball to Israel. Are these filmakers aware of what has happend to the IBL since last June? Talk about "poring salt in the wound"....