If there's a tragic figure in the unseemly Biogenesis steroid scandal that tore apart Major League Baseball three years ago, it's Yuri Sucart, Alex Rodriguez's cousin and longtime drug connection. After years at A-Rod's side, often doing his less-than-legal bidding, Sucart fell hard in a federal criminal case tied to Biogenesis. Sucart landed a seven-month prison sentence last summer as his health and finances spiraled out of control.
Sucart is now out of prison, but his prospects aren't much sunnier. As A-Rod prepares for what might be his penultimate Opening Day in New York, a federal judge has signed off on new conditions of release for Sucart because he couldn't repay the $5,000 in restitution he owes the court.
More surprising, though, is where Sucart is getting his money. The court notes Sucart "is currently unemployed but is receiving a severance payment from his previous employer in the amount of $5,000 a month."
So who's paying Sucart $60,000 a year as "severance"? The new agreement doesn't say, but the only employer Sucart has previously listed in court documents is AROD Corp. — the firm owned by his famed cousin.
Is A-Rod keeping his cousin afloat now that he's no longer behind bars? Neither Sucart's attorneys nor Rodriguez's reps have returned New Times' requests for comment on this story. But if so, it would be a startling turnaround in a relationship on the rocks in the wake of the scandal.
Sucart is 13 years older than Rodriguez, but the pair grew up together in New York City's Washington Heights until Rodriguez's mom moved to Miami. Soon after A-Rod broke into the big leagues, he hired his cousin as his gofer.
Sucart was a useful employee — in part, perhaps, because he had pleaded guilty in 1996 to a felony charge of selling a controlled substance and faced potential deportation without a regular gig. (Those details were first reported in Blood Sport, the book I co-wrote about the Biogenesis case.)
A-Rod's portly cousin quietly served in the shadows for years until 2009, when news broke that the slugger had failed a drug test six years earlier. At a packed news conference, A-Rod essentially threw Yuri under the bus, blaming "his cousin" for bringing him steroids from the Dominican Republic. Within hours, tabloids had ID'ed Sucart.
Sucart was banned from MLB clubhouses but soon found his way back into A-Rod's employ. In the Biogenesis case, he played middleman between the Yankees star and Anthony Bosch, the owner of the Coral Gables steroid den.
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The pair had an epic falling-out in 2012, though. Sucart later threatened to sue A-Rod and put his Yankees memorabilia on eBay to raise money. In 2014, Sucart's wife even called A-Rod "the Devil" and told New York tabloids stories about the Yankees legend urinating on a wall in their house to intimidate them.
Sucart pleaded guilty to his role in Biogenesis last June and received seven months in prison, plus six months of probation. Last month, though, he asked the court to cut him slack on the $5,000 fine he had been ordered to pay. The $5,000 in monthly "severance" pay barely covers his family's living expenses, he told the court. In a new agreement, which was signed March 10 by Sucart's probation officer, Juan Lora, Sucart will pay the court $500 per month until the fine is gone.
A-Rod, meanwhile, is set to start what might be his second-to-last MLB season tonight. After initially saying he would retire after the 2017 season, the slugger has since gone back and forth on whether he's ready to hang up the cleats.