Disgraced former New York Mets clubhouse manager Charlie Samuels admitted this morning to stealing team memorabilia to the tune of $2.3 million, according to the Queens District Attorney.
Samuels, 54, confessed he stashed away more than 500 autographed jerseys, 300 hats, more than 800 baseball bats, batting helmets and equipment bags, according to the Daily News. He never sold any of the memorabilia, but kept it to fund his retirement.
Among the items was a Mets jersey signed by country singer Garth Brooks in 2000, according to the News.
Samuels started with the team in 1976, was made equipment manager in 1983 and subsequently became the clubhouse manager and traveling secretary. But he was fired in 2010 after the Mets accused him of betting on baseball games. He also allegedly paid off debts with money siphoned from official team accounts.
“(Samuels) had a dream job that any Mets fan would die for – and he blew it,” Queens DA Richard Brown said today. “He allowed his greed to get the better of him.”
Samuels also pleaded guilty to under-reporting his income from the team on his 2009 state tax returns. He didn’t declare tips he had received from Mets ball players and others with the team.
Taking a guilty plea helped Samuels avoid jail time, according to reports. Instead, he’ll have to serve five years probation. He also has to pay the Amazins’ $25,000 in restitution, and pay the city and state another $34,000 in back taxes. He also has to return all the stolen memorabilia items.
Banned for life
Banned for life
Samuels is now banned from Mets games for life at Citi Field, as part of the conditions of his plea deal. He can’t even set foot in the Mets’ minor league park in Brooklyn, the Coney Island Cyclones stadium, or the Mets’ spring training facility in Port St. Lucie, Florida.