Retired New York Yankees player and real estate investor Alex Rodriguez is facing new allegations of racketeering, embezzlement and fraud in a complaint filed by his ex-brother-in-law.
Constantine Scurtis is suing Rodriguez, Monument Capital Management principal Stuart Zook, Newport Property Ventures and other companies affiliated with Rodriguez. Scurtis alleges that he was the victim of a “systematic and fraudulent effort” to cut him out of the venture and to “strip him of the future financial rewards.”
The latest lawsuit, filed this month in Miami-Dade Circuit Court, is set for a trial to begin in August.
The complaint begins with the allegation that Rodriguez is “a serial cheater and liar” and that after allegedly cheating on Cynthia, he “lied to and cheated” Scurtis in their real estate partnership. Scurtis outlines allegations of embezzlement, obtaining property by fraud, insurance fraud, forgery, mail fraud and wire fraud, and claims that the alleged racketeering resulted in millions of dollars in damages to Scurtis.
According to the suit, the partnership was allegedly set up so that Scurtis would receive 5 percent of the profits, plus a 3 percent commission on purchases of properties that he would bring to Rodriguez.
Rodriguez’s attorney, John C. Lukacs Sr., said in a statement to The Real Deal that Scurtis’ claims are “baseless” and that Scurtis has amended his complaint four times, “asserting a hodgepodge of fabricated claims that are wholly without merit.”
Scurtis is now alleging that Rodriguez and his co-conspirators sold properties to themselves at “artificially low prices,” filed false records with the Florida Secretary of State and the Internal Revenue Service, and fabricated the transfer of Scurtis’ partnership interests to entities controlled by Rodriguez,” according to the complaint.
Katherine Eskovitz, a partner at New York and Miami-based Roche Cyrulnik Freedman who represents Scurtis, said in a statement that Rodriguez and his co-conspirators’ alleged actions “gravely [damaged] a legitimate and successful family real estate business that Constantine Scurtis built through hard work and savvy investment decisions.”
The lawsuit also alleges that Rodriguez, Zook and others falsified records to show that employees were renting properties in Tampa, and then allegedly reimbursed themselves for the rent payments by calling the reimbursements consulting payments. Scurtis also alleges insurance fraud following Hurricane Ike in 2008, claiming that two sets of accounting records were created, one with the actual damage caused by the hurricane and another with inflated damages.
Rodriguez’s attorney Lukacs added in his statement, “Sadly, Scurtis expanded his claims yet again to include and publicly sensationalize additional allegations as part of his scheme to impugn and shakedown Rodriguez for money which Scurtis is not entitled to, and to escape repayment of substantial monies owed which is the subject of a countersuit against him.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated what position Rodriguez played.