Capitals

Dykstra sentenced in bankruptcy fraud case

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Dykstra sentenced in bankruptcy fraud case

LOS ANGELES (AP) Former All-Star outfielder Lenny Dykstra was sentenced Monday to 6 1/2 months in prison for hiding baseball gloves and other heirlooms from his playing days that were supposed to be part of his bankruptcy filing, capping a tumultuous year of legal woes.

U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson weighed Dykstra's battle with drugs and alcohol versus the crimes he committed and opted to give the ex-big leaguer a lenient prison term but saddled him with 500 hours of community service. He also ordered Dykstra to pay $200,000 in restitution.

Dykstra, 49, apologized for his actions and promised to turn his life around.

``I don't think I'm a bad person,'' said Dykstra, who was in handcuffs and wearing a white prison-issued jumpsuit. ``I made some bad decisions.''

Pregerson initially issued a 14-month sentence, but revised his ruling after he noted Dykstra had already served seven months in federal custody awaiting sentencing. Dykstra was already behind bars after pleading no contest to grand theft auto and providing a false financial statement.

The sentences will run concurrent and Dykstra could be released by mid-2013, Pregerson said.

Prosecutors sought a 2 1/2-year sentence after Dykstra pleaded guilty earlier this year to bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets and money laundering.

The sentencing was part of a downward spiral for Dykstra, who earned the nickname ``Nails'' during his 12-year career with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies because of his gritty style of play.

Dykstra, who bought a mansion once owned by hockey star Wayne Gretzky, filed for bankruptcy three years ago, claiming he owed more than $31 million and had only $50,000 in assets.

After the filing, Dykstra hid, sold or destroyed at least $200,000 worth of items without permission of a bankruptcy trustee, prosecutors said.

Court documents show Dykstra said he put an oven, sconces and chandeliers into a storage unit, but prosecutors said he actually sold the items for $8,500. Then Dykstra went to another house where his ex-wife lived and sold a cache of baseball memorabilia to a Las Vegas dealer for $15,000 and pocketed the proceeds.

Deputy federal public defender Hilary Potashner said Dykstra has battled drug and alcohol abuse that date back to his playing days when he took painkillers. Dykstra was arrested last year by Los Angeles police who said they found cocaine, Ecstasy and synthetic human growth hormone at his home. As part of the grand theft auto case, prosecutors dropped 21 counts against him in exchange for his no contest plea.

Potashner added that when Dykstra ran into financial troubles several years ago, he became a person who was out of control.

Pregerson tried to comprehend the host of legal problems facing Dykstra, including a recent nine-month sentence after he pleaded no contest to exposing himself to women he met through Craigslist.

``There's just a sort of spectrum of conduct I can't understand,'' Pregerson said. ``What I am trying to understand is: Who is Mr. Dykstra?''

Dykstra's attorneys stressed their client has learned a valuable lesson and has paid a high price for his celebrity status. Potashner said in court that Dykstra was ``beaten to a pulp'' recently while in a Los Angeles County jail and had some teeth knocked out.

Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County sheriff's department, said there had been a fight involving Dykstra and some deputies in April after the former ball player had to be taken to a hospital for undisclosed reasons. Dykstra was the aggressor and had to be physically restrained, Whitmore said.

``The accusation the defense attorney is making in court is not accurate,'' said Whitmore, who added Dykstra suffered a bloody nose during the incident.

On Monday, Dykstra had about a dozen supporters in court, including his ex-wife and his son, Cutter, who is playing for the Washington Nationals' Single-A team in Maryland.

As the gray-haired Dykstra was being led away from court, he turned to the group and gave a thumbs-up.

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Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

Capitals are the class of the Metropolitan Division for fifth year in a row

You know what’s fun? Winning Metropolitan Division titles. 

No, it’s not as good as the big prize. The Capitals will never top their 2018 Stanley Cup championship. But winning a competitive division against their biggest rivals five years in a row? Pretty, pretty good. 

Washington took its fifth in a row officially on Tuesday when the NHL announced that the regular season had concluded thanks to the ongoing coronavirus. The Capitals just outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers with 90 standings points to 89. The difference over 69 games? One extra Caps game going into overtime for a single point. 

Credit to the Flyers for making a late run. No one was playing better in the NHL than Philadelphia just before the season was halted. Whether that carries over into the Stanley Cup Playoffs remains to be seen. 

But the Capitals should take pride in that streak. It’s hard to do in an age of parity. They play in a division where the Pittsburgh Penguins won two Stanley Cups in the previous four seasons. The two teams slugged it out three times in the second round. That’s the luck of the draw, and so four straight division titles -- and two Presidents’ Trophies -- meant just one Cup for Washington. 

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It’s also rare to dominate a division the way the Capitals have for five years. The Anaheim Ducks won the Pacific Division title every year from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that, the Detroit Red Wings won the Central Division an astounding eight times from 2001 to 2009. It doesn’t get you a championship -- Washington won the expired Southeast Division from 2008 to 2011 -- but it does mean you played great hockey year after year.

And to do it in the reconstituted Patrick Division, where long-time rivals like the Penguins, Flyers, Rangers, Islanders and Devils joined with newer rivals Carolina and Columbus, makes it even sweeter. Add another banner to the rafters at Capital One Arena. The Caps are the class of the Metropolitan Division yet again. 

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Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

Nationals will not lay off full-time business or baseball employees amid coronavirus pandemic

The Washington Nationals decided to use “partial furloughs” to keep their baseball and business employees at work through the end of their contracts or the calendar year.

The road map works like this:

All full-time business and baseball employees will receive a reduction in pay and hours ranging from 10 to 30 percent. If the employee’s contract runs to the end of baseball season -- typically Oct. 31 -- then these parameters apply from now until then. If the employee is not on contract, these reductions persist until Dec. 31.

No full-time employee is being laid off because of the economic impact from coronavirus.

An example: If a person works a 40-hour week, and has the 10 percent reduction in pay and hours, they are down to a 36-hour week at 10 percent pay cut.

The reduction scale slides. The highest-paid employees, like Mike Rizzo, are taking the largest reduction in pay. Then on down the line.

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The Nationals deciding to do this now allows their staff to know what the future holds as opposed to wondering month-to-month what decision the organization will make in regard to their job status.

Major League Baseball organizations remain uneasy about their financial future in 2020 since the season has stalled. The league and its team owners are in the midst of negotiations with the MLBPA while attempting to find a safe, revenue-satisfactory path back to the field.

Meanwhile, teams across the league are assessing their non-player finances, and the approach varies. For instance, the Anaheim Angels decided last week to furlough some non-playing employees.

In Washington, no full-time employee will be laid off because of this salary adjustment.

USA Today was first to report the Nationals’ overall decision.

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