Friday, January 3, 1997
Reds' books accurate, Allen says
Baseball delays inquiry into GM allegations against Schott

The Cincinnati Enquirer

Though one of Marge Schott's car dealerships is under scrutiny for alleged fraud, Reds managing executive John Allen said Thursday he is ''100 percent satisfied,'' with the club's financial records.

Allen's comments came as Major League Baseball prepares to investigate General Motors' claim Schott faked 57 sales in 1995 to keep her Chevrolet-GEO dealership, and The Enquirer's Dec. 24 report that she used the names of some Reds employees to aid what the automaker calls ''an elaborate scheme.''

The National League said Thursday it will wait until GM's complaint with Schott is resolved by the Ohio Motor Vehicle Dealers Board before it begins an inquiry.

That means it's doubtful the Schott-GM case will be discussed when baseball owners meet in two weeks at Scottsdale, Ariz.

Meanwhile, sources in the Cincinnati auto business said Schott was closing in on a deal to sell the Chevy-Geo dealership. Schott did not return calls from The Enquirer on Thursday.

Schott told The New York Times for a story for today's editions that she didn't think the case will affect her status in baseball.

''I wouldn't think so at all,'' she said in a brief telephone interview. ''Our family - my husband's family - is the oldest family in the automotive business.''

Allen said he expects Major League officials to increase the intensity of their annual review of teams' financial records because money will now be distributed to small-revenue clubs from larger clubs. The Reds are expected to receive $3 million in the first year of revenue sharing.

''It's not that baseball is trying to catch teams cheating,'' Allen said. ''They're trying to make sure we're all playing by the same rules.

''For example, what happens when you trade advertising for uniforms for the grounds crew? They've got to make sure it's all accounted for the same way.''

Schott has come under fire in the past for the way she has handled the Reds' books.

In 1986, the National League stepped in on a dispute between Schott and her limited partners that centered on redeeming one of her shares in the club for $1.6 million.

She won that challenge, including the partners' claim they should have received some of the team's $2.5 million in profits.

Two years later, Schott and limited partner Carl A. Kroch settled when he took her to court in an effort to get Schott to open the Reds' books.

Allen, who was the team's controller for 13 months before assuming day-to-day control of the club last June, says Schott has never asked him to tinker with the books and doubts they have ever been doctored.

''First and foremost, each team goes through an annual independent audit by an outside firm, and they've never had problems with the Reds,'' Allen said.

GM SAYS SCHOTT FAKED SALES Published Dec. 24, 1996