Rose Asked to Get Involved in Cocaine Deals, Accuser says
CINCINNATI (AP) _ Pete Rose tried to get involved in cocaine deals arranged by his associates so he could pocket tax-free cash, and once offered to store cocaine in his house, a former associate told baseball investigators.
The allegation was dismissed as ″ridiculous″ by one of Rose’s lawyers.
Paul G. Janszen, who claims he ran bets for the Cincinnati Reds manager, told baseball investigators in February that Rose once asked him to set up a cocaine ring and include him.
Janszen also said Rose once said he might consider throwing a game if he had a large bet on it. He also told investigators that Rose checked by telephone with other major-league managers about their players’ physical status before placing bets on their teams.
Janszen’s claims were made in an interview included in thousands of pages of exhibits to investigator John M. Dowd’s report, which was released Monday.
It was the first time Rose has been linked to the cocaine ring operated by former associates who ran a gymnasium in Cincinnati where the manager worked out.
″This idea of Rose being involved with drugs is so far off the wall that it’s ridiculous,″ Rose lawyer Robert A. Pitcairn Jr. said. ″(To) anyone who knows Pete Rose and has known Pete Rose over the years, there’s just no question he wouldn’t get involved with drugs.
″For Janszen to say this is slander of the worst kind. It’s further evidence to us that this guy will do anything to follow through with his blackmail attempts of Pete Rose. Why Dowd’s investigators even went into areas like this is beyond me.″
According to a spokeswoman for Dowd, the investigator said he left the drug references out of his 225-page summary report to baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti because it was not relevant to the gambling inquiry.
In other developments, the former girlfriend of a Rose associate said she had corroborated the Dowd report’s charge that Rose conspired to hide racetrack winnings from a $47,646 Pik-Six ticket in 1987 at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.
If the charges are true, Rose faces possible indictment on charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government. A federal grand jury is investigating Rose’s income taxes.
Rose Fernbach Billiter, the former girlfriend of Thomas P. Gioiosa, told The Associated Press that she had provided first- and second-hand information supporting the charges to the FBI and the Internal Revenue Service.
Also, a Jan. 20 letter from Janszen to another attorney for Rose, Reuven J. Katz, reveals Janszen’s feelings on why his relationship with Rose deteriorated.
″Because I covered for him with his wife, while he was sleeping his way around town, she no longer wanted me in their house,″ Janszen said of Rose’s wife. ″Carol doesn’t have the guts to leave him, so she has to blame his friends for his disgusting behavior.″
Attempts to reach Mrs. Rose by telephone Tuesday were unsuccessful.
Rose, who faces a possible lifetime ban by baseball if it is determined he bet on his own team, won a temporary restraining order preventing Giamatti from holding a hearing on the charges. Baseball’s lawyers have asked a three- judge panel of an Ohio appeals court to suspend the restraining order and Rose’s response is due Wednesday.
Janszen, who recently completed a four-month sentence for failure to report income, didn’t say that Rose used drugs, but he said the manager thought he could get cash from drug deals conducted by a circle of associates. Several of the associates were sentenced after federal authorities cracked a ring that smuggled cocaine from Florida to Ohio.
Gioiosa faces trial in Cincinnati next month on charges of tax evasion and conspiring to arrange cocaine deliveries from Florida to Cincinnati between 1985 and 1987.
Gold’s Gym, where Rose worked out, was operated by Donald J. Stenger, who admitted smuggling 40 to 50 kilograms of cocaine from Florida to Cincinnati. Stenger was given an 10-year prison sentence last March following a guilty plea.
Michael E. Fry, who owned the gym, is serving an eight-year term for cocaine trafficking and tax evasion.
During his interview last February with baseball investigators, Janszen said that Rose showed him a copy of his income tax return in 1987.
″He showed me that and he told me at the same time, ’Paul, if you get me involved and if you can, if you will set up a cocaine organization and include me in it, you can spend as much money as you ever want to because if they ever come to you and say where do you get your money, I will tell them from Pete Rose,‴ Janszen said.
Janszen also said Rose told him that Gioiosa, a former housemate of the manager, brought a suitcase with $200,000 into the Reds’ clubhouse sometime during 1987 and showed Rose the money, which supposedly was going to be used to buy cocaine in Florida.
Janszen said that when he asked Rose why he wanted to get involved in cocaine, Rose responded that he had a certificate of deposit for $65,000 or $75,000 that was maturing in a few weeks. He quoted Rose as saying:
″I’ll use that money and buy the kilos and I’ll keep them in my house because nobody would have the ----- to come to my house.″