For a guy who makes $88,114.75 every two weeks during the baseball season, Marlins reliever Renyel Pinto sure has a lot of trouble paying his bills.
Cooper City's aptly-named Major League Jewelers has filed suit against the Venezuelan pitcher, claiming that he failed to pay an 18-month-old $230,500 bling bill. Under Florida statute that increases damages in cases of civil theft, the jeweler is demanding $922,000-- just a touch under Pinto's 2010 salary of 1.075 million.
The rotund, bird-flippin', Ed-Hardy-lovin' reliever, who was arrested last December for ignoring a court date stemming from a driving infraction and is currently on the disabled list, might be Miami's most deadbeat athlete this side of Rumeal Robinson.
A judge recently awarded Pinto's sports management company $11,488 after he reneged on his agent's fee and failed to pay the company back for $3,000 he borrowed to buy custom-fitted suits.
The company, Coral Springs-based Pro-Management Resources, cleaned out his Northern Trust Bank of Florida account-- which contained only $166.87, according to court records-- and is garnishing his Marlins' wages this season.
The jewelry spree that has now Pinto in hot water came on October 29, 2008, when he bought a total of eleven pieces including a $50,000 watch, a $52,000 chain and a $45,000 bracelet, all in yellow diamond. Major League Jewelers, whose celebrity Rolodex includes Shaquille O'neal, Dwyane Wade, C.C. Sabathia, Johan Santana and 50 Cent, also comped Pinto a $17,500 bracelet.
The bill came to more than half of his 2008 salary of $391,500, leading us to believe Pinto's fiscal-planning skills are about as formidable as his curveball. According to the civil complaint filed May 12, he promised to wire the money but never did.
Pinto's attorney George M. Evans, who hopefully was paid in advance, did not immediately respond to Riptide's request for comment. (See the update.) Messages left at Major League Jewelers were also unreturned.
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Pinto is due in Miami-Dade court this morning. We'll let you know if he's appropriately custom-fitted and iced-out.
Update: Major League Jewelers has dropped the accusations of civil theft, but Pinto is still on the hook for the jewelry bill, according to new filings.
"Labeling this a theft was defamatory," says Pinto's attorney George M. Evans. "Mr Pinto is in the process of resolving this."