Saturday, December 13, 2008

Pay to Play

Man, that is a buncha money he owes.

It'll never get repaid, especially if he stays in jail on our nickel.

Dad said to owe $725,000 in child support nabbed
By Guillermo Contreras - Express-News

Accused of being one of Texas' worst deadbeat dads, a former professional baseball player has been arrested after a long stay abroad, the San Antonio Express-News confirmed Friday.
Troy Lee Neel, accused of owing almost $725,000 in child support, was taken into custody in Los Angeles on Thursday.

Neel, 43, had been living for years in Vanuatu, a South Pacific island nation, and was arrested by investigators with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General after getting off a plane at Los Angeles International Airport.
As of Wednesday, Neel owed $724,345 for his two children, dating to November 1998, according to Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's Web site. That year, Neel was ordered to pay $5,000 a month in support, a number based on his earnings as a professional athlete.

He was added to the state's top ten list of child support evaders in February 2002.
“We have been pursuing him vigorously since then,” said Janece Rolfe, spokeswoman for the child support division.
The Freeport native was married and had two children before divorcing in 1997, Travis County records show.

Neel was a first baseman and designated hitter for the Oakland Athletics from 1992 to 1994. He later went to Japan, where he played from 1995 to 2000 for the Orix Blue Wave.
After leaving baseball, he moved to Vanuatu, a group of islands between Fiji and Australia. He bought some property called the Erakor Island Resort and was a popular figure, according to the Vanuatu Daily Post newspaper.

Meanwhile, Texas authorities unsuccessfully tried to get him back. In March 2005, a federal grand jury in San Antonio indicted him on a charge of traveling abroad to avoid paying child support. The indictment was unsealed Friday.

“Pursuing parents who have not met their support obligations is obviously a priority for the Department of Health and Human Services and the federal government,” said Donald White, a spokesman for the department's Office of Inspector General. “This is just one example of that.”
The U.S. State Department this year had refused to issue him a new passport, and officials pressured the Vanuatan government to deport him to Australia, which has an extradition agreement with the United States.

In May, Neel told the Vanuatu Daily Post that he wanted to take care of his past.
“I want to sort out this issue in the U.S.A. and intend (on) obtaining a ticket to go back voluntarily,” he was quoted as saying. “I was hoping to use the sale of the resort to raise funds to pay what I owe and I have been sending (monthly payments) back to the U.S.A. for a couple of years.

“Now with Erakor in receivership, I am unlikely to get a dime out of the resort, and it is obviously impossible for me to pay what they say I owe. It will not be easy, but I will try. I have been in Vanuatu 71/2 years and enjoy it here and want to stay here, so I am keen to try and work with the government to sort this problem out so I can return here.”

Neel appeared in federal court in Los Angeles on Thursday and was ordered detained pending his transfer to San Antonio.