Disgraced South Florida baseball player Jose Canseco is in debt -- $1.69 million in debt, to be exact, most of it in taxes. But don't worry -- it's not the former MLB all-star's fault.
"The issue is very simple: If you've got friends and family, the more money you make the more you spend on them. So let's say you spend half your money on them and the rest on yourself and the cost of living," he wrote yesterday, for Vice. "It may so happen that during all of that you forget to pay your taxes."
Ah, that's how it works, does it? That explains why he hasn't paid taxes in seven years.
Canseco then goes into how interest, penalties, and wage garnishments felt like the government was trying to "enslave" him, saying, "You're just underwater, sipping air -- sipping life even -- through a little straw that's sticking through the surface."
He then spectacularly combines economics with civil disobedience: "To me, it doesn't make any sense: If the government prints its own money, why are we in debt? Or is it a psychological theory they're using to control the public," he wrote. "Realistically, they couldn't do one single thing about it if we all said, 'Nope, you're not getting taxes this year,' and the saddest part is that the deficit would still be the same."
It's not clear if Canseco will be able to pay off his debts with the prize money he gets from winning the Nobel Prize for economics.
Canseco, who was born in Cuba and grew up in Miami, hasn't played pro ball since 2001, by which time he'd hit 462 home runs, played on six all-star teams, and taken lots and lots of steroids, which he documented in a book that, bafflingly, got his friends mad at him. His wife left him after years of alleged abuse (and his bragging of trysts with "road beef"), he and his brother were accused of badly beating a man in South Beach in 2001, and he's at times taken to Twitter to try to sell autographed stuff.
In the years since his retirement, he's appeared on the Celebrity Apprentice, tweeted his ex-girlfriend's cell phone number, and dabbled in independent-league baseball. He's currently trying to bail on a Massachusetts baseball team, the Worcester Tornadoes, to sign with the Texas-based Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings.
His bankruptcy documents list him as "self-employed" in the occupation of "professional baseball player." He says he pulls in $7,500 a month, though his salary at the Tornadoes was reported at around $12,000 a year. He wrote for Vice about how the IRS was so mean to him and his daughter Josie, that she isn't listed as a dependent on his filing, in perhaps the two truest words in the document: "Relationship(s): None."
His expenses are estimated at $4,450 a month -- which, somehow, includes a $3,100 budget line for food. For just him.
He's also stuck with a $285,000 IRS lien from 2005 and owes $382,000 more in state and federal taxes from the years since, to say nothing of the "income tax" he says he owes Florida, "years unknown," amount "unknown."
One of the debts he's applying to wriggle out of: $785,344 owed to Christian Presley, who sued Canseco -- and won -- for a Halloween 2001 fight at what was then the Opium Garden nightclub.
In the 2005 court case over the fight, Canseco was found to have two homes in California worth $500,000, a half-million dollar advance on his book, and $300,000 from being on the Surreal Life TV show.
Now, he says he has, among few other things, $300 cash, two watches, $750 in "DVDs, memorabilia," and $300 in equipment described as "Golf clubs (1); bowling ball; soft ball equipment."
While Chapter 7 bankruptcy would normally liquidate any considerable assets to pay his debts, Canseco has applied to keep the clubs, bowling ball, and softball stuff under a Nevada legal exemption for "necessary household goods."
There's lots of silly things in here. If you're into schadenfreude, here's the bankruptcy filing from last week:
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