Tough Stand by Giamatti in Rose Case
Commissioner Bart Giamatti will not allow anyone else to decide whether Pete Rose bet on his own team, a baseball official said Friday.
And contrary to published reports, there have been no settlement discussions between the two sides, Deputy Commissioner Francis Vincent Jr. said. He also said there was no chance Giamatti would remove himself from the case--presumably a provision that lawyers for the Cincinnati Reds manager would demand in any possible settlement.
“The only issue that is not negotiable is that Mr. Giamatti step aside and have this issue resolved by someone else,” Vincent said. “That would involve a diminution of the commissionership.”
Vincent said baseball would listen to any proposal Rose’s lawyers might have about a settlement that would include Giamatti as baseball’s final judge in the matter.
“We’d listen, but obviously we are not talking,” Vincent said. “I have no idea if anybody will propose anything.”
The Cincinnati Post quoted unidentified sources Friday as saying that Rose’s lawyers, Robert Pitcairn Jr. and Robert Stachler, presented a settlement proposal to Giamatti Thursday when they met in Washington to take a deposition from the commissioner.
“That’s flatly not true,” Vincent said.
Baseball’s lawyers took no further court action Friday in their attempts to free Giamatti from a court order that restrains him from deciding Rose’s fate. Vincent said they were considering whether to appeal it to the Ohio Supreme Court.
The 14-day temporary restraining order by Norbert A. Nadel, Hamilton County common pleas judge, prevents Giamatti from holding a hearing on the gambling allegations against Rose, or suspending the manager. Nadel’s order also prohibits Red majority owner Marge Schott from firing Rose.
Schott, who has declined to comment on the court case, was admitted Friday to a hospital in Cincinnati for what was were described as routine tests. A hospital spokeswoman said it wasn’t a serious matter and that Schott will stay at the hospital for at least one night.
Nadel has scheduled a hearing for a preliminary injunction next Thursday. Giamatti is expected to testify, if the hearing is held.
The two sides’ positions appear to leave little middle ground for a settlement.
Giamatti’s lawyers have steadfastly maintained there was no reason for the commissioner to remove himself from deciding on evidence that Rose allegedly bet on his own team, an offense that could bring a lifetime ban. Baseball’s lawyers have maintained that Giamatti’s authority is being undermined by attempts to blunt his decision-making powers in the state court system.
Rose has ruled out admitting any guilt in the matter, which presumably would have to be part of any deal. Rose said Thursday he isn’t interested in anything less than complete vindication on the allegations of betting on baseball.
“I’m expending so much time and energy to prove I’m innocent,” Rose said.
Baseball’s report on its investigation, conducted by John M. Dowd, includes unsubstantiated testimony that at least one Red player knew about Rose’s gambling.
A summary of an interview with Paul Janszen, who claims to have run Rose’s bets, says that reliever John Franco knew about his manager’s betting. Baseball’s investigators were told that Rose placed bets with a New York bookmaker through a person identified only as “Val” in the report.
According to Janszen, one of Franco’s friends in New York told the reliever that Val was upset about Rose not paying his gambling debt. Baseball’s investigators were told that Rose owed $400,000 to the New York bookmaker at one point.
Franco denied saying that to Janszen, or having any knowledge of the alleged gambling with the New York bookmaker.