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Steinbrenner, Yankees issued subpoenas

12/24/2003 - New York Yankees

ALBANY, N.Y. -- George Steinbrenner and other top Yankees'
executives were subpoenaed by a New York state commission
investigating the team's distribution of free tickets to public
officials.

Subpoenas were issued Tuesday to the Yankees president Randy
Levine and chief operating officer Lonn Trost, according to
documents reviewed Wednesday by The Associated Press under a
Freedom of Information Act request.

The subpoenas direct the three Yankees executives to turn over
records on complimentary tickets for the 2002 and 2003 regular
season and playoffs by Jan. 14. The three executives were also
ordered to appear at the commission's Albany offices on Jan. 21 to
give closed-door depositions about the free tickets.

The team's Albany lawyer, Clemente Parente, has filed free
ticket information with the commission for 2002 and for the VIPs
who got complimentary tickets for last year's home opener.

According to Lobbying Commission records in the case, Parente
promised in an Oct. 23 letter that free ticket information for the
three postseason series the Yankees played in 2003 would be
produced within two weeks. But no more details have since been
provided by the team, commission officials said, prompting the
subpoenas.

The subpoenas were first reported Wednesday by the New York
Daily News.

"The Yankees have not engaged in any lobbying," Yankees
spokesman Howard Rubenstein said.

None of the Yankees officials have been served with the
subpoenas, Levine said.

Under state laws, companies and individuals have to report all
gifts to public officials worth $75 or more. The commission can
levy fines of up to $100,000 for the filing of incomplete or
inaccurate information on lobbying expenses.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner
Raymond Kelly and City Council Speaker Gifford Miller were among
the public officials who accepted free tickets to 2002 Yankee
playoff games. Bloomberg told all city officials this fall not to
accept free tickets to Yankees and Mets games except for opening
day.

Opening day has traditionally been considered a ceremonial
affair, when teams issue complimentary tickets to many public
officials.

Commission officials declined comment on the investigation.