Thursday, January 2, 1997
Baseball to examine
GM accusations against Schott

Automaker won't ask for criminal charges

BY GEOFF HOBSON
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Major League Baseball plans to review General Motors' allegations Reds owner Marge Schott ''defrauded'' the automaker.

''We will look at the complaint and an appropriate response will be taken as warranted,'' said National League President Len Coleman.

In a Dec. 4 complaint filed at the Ohio Motor Vehicle Dealers Board, GM alleged Schott falsified 57 sales at her Chevrolet-Geo dealership in 1995.

Sources said Wednesday that Schott is considering selling the dealership, but Coleman said he would still investigate in the event of a sale.

''We will look at GM's complaint on its own merits,'' said Coleman, who hasn't seen the document.

Coleman had no comment on The Enquirer's Dec. 24 story, in which sources said Reds' employees received notice of sales or leases they had not made.

Schott is serving a two-year suspension from the Reds' day-to-day operations, a punishment baseball meted out last June 12 for insensitive remarks.

Baseball has a precedent for stripping an owner of a franchise in case of fraud. Commissioner Ford Frick ordered Fred Saigh to sell the St. Louis Cardinals in 1953 after he was convicted of tax evasion.

But GM and Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters said there are no plans to press criminal charges.

''We won't pursue fraud ... We don't think that's in the customer's best interest, and that's our primary interest,'' said Kyle Johnson, GM spokesman for safety and legal issues. ''We want to get the dealership operating appropriately to serve the customers.''

Deters said, ''We have not been contacted by GM, and we won't pursue it on our own.''

GM SAYS SCHOTT FAKED SALES Published Dec. 24, 1996