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Canseco's agent disputes report of unpaid taxes

2/19/2005

BOSTON -- Jose Canseco may need to use his book advance to
pay back taxes.

The Berkshire Eagle reported Saturday that Canseco, who recently released an autobiography accusing several star players of using steroids, owes the Massachusetts Department of Revenue $32,783 in income taxes.

Cansecos' name appears on the DOR's "cybershame" online database of people and businesses that underreported or failed to report income, the paper reported.

According to records obtained by The Eagle, the Department of Revenue has placed liens totaling $29,841 on property owned by Canseco. However, Canseco's agent, Doug Ames, said the taxes were paid to
Massachusetts but that the accounting firm that handled Canseco's
taxes did not file an income tax return as required.

"What happens is, if you don't file a return in a state, even if you have money taken out of your paycheck, the state says that you owe that money," Ames said in an interview Friday. "We don't have to pay it."

Ames said resolving the matter was as simple as having the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Devil Rays -- the teams Ames says Canseco was playing for when the tax liabilities accumulated -- send a letter to the DOR explaining the taxes had been deducted from Canseco's paycheck.

But, Ames added, "Teams are not being real nice to us right now."

That likely has much to do with the claims put forth in Canseco's book, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big." In the book, published Monday, Canseco calls himself the
"godfather of steroids in baseball" and names baseball players he
says used steroids, including former teammate Mark McGwire.

The book also charges that both baseball management and the union tried to ignore alleged widespread steroid use in the major leagues.

"Are players the only ones to blame when Donald Fehr and the other bosses of the Major League Baseball Players Association fought for years to make sure players wouldn't be tested for steroids?" Canseco wrote, adding: "Fehr had to know the truth."

Despite Ames' claim that the tax issue is just a misunderstanding of sorts, the Department of Revenue told The Eagle that people listed on the department's "cybershame" list aren't put there lightly.

DOR spokesman Timothy Connolly told the paper people listed in the Web site database are longtime
debtors who have been subjected to liens and other collection
efforts such as fines that double the amount owed.

"Those are all cases where we've exhausted all of our normal
collection remedies," he said.

It is not known when Canseco accumulated the taxes or to what property the liens are attached. Connolly told the paper it is illegal for DOR officials to discuss individual delinquent taxpayers.

According to records obtained by The Eagle, the two DOR liens are dated 2003 and list Canseco's address as 10131 North Lake Vista Circle in Davie, Fla. That is the same address reported by a Miami TV station in June 2003, when Canseco was arrested by Davie police on charges of violating his probation by allegedly testing positive for a "controlled substance," the paper reported.

Canseco won the 1986 AL Rookie of the Year and 1988 MVP. He
spent 17 seasons in the major leagues, finishing in 2001 with 462
career home runs.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.