Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Why is no one suing over Israel Baseball debts?

With word that Larry Baras and his Israel Baseball League took the El Al flight back to the State, leaving behind more than a million dollars in debt from their 2007 maiden season of the Israel Baseball League, the big question these days is why none of the vendors, players, businesses or other entities has filed suit against the Boston bagel baron or the IBl organization.

One person who has sued is Natalie Blacher. She's the woman who invested in Baras' "Unholey Bagel" invention, and claims in a federal securities fraud suit filed in Boston that Baras used her bagel-bound money to start up the IBL, and, in an echo of the IBL's former advisory board's complaints about his refusal to give an accounting of what he did with the money:

"The Plaintiff... invested $275,000 in SJR (Foods, Inc.) from September 1999 to October 2000... During 2006 and 2007 it became increasingly difficult for Plaintiff to obtain information from Baras and SJR about the financial condition of SJR... The balance sheet provided by Defendants in May 2007 indicated that as of November 31, 2006, SJR had a negative net worth of $1.5 million, despite the representations of Baras in March 2007 that SJR had a total debt of $400,000.... Furthermore, balance sheets for previous years showed sizable increases in SJR's debt which could not be explained or reconciled. The Plaintiff believes that Baras may have charged SJR substantial amounts for personal living expenses or for expenses which were properly chargeable to other business entities.

"...After the Plaintiff became aware of the Defendant Baras' involvement in the Israeli Baseball League, and said that she was concerned about her investment as a result, Baras represented that his involvement was very limited. All of these statements were false and/or misleading..."

Baras' attorney recently filed a motion to have the case dismissed. The papers posted here make up Blacher's objection to the motion. Baras claims the statute of limitations has run out on her claims. Blacher's attorneys say the clock didn't start ticking until she discovered the fraud. Baras' teams have until the end of the week to respond.

Based on Our Man Elli in Israel's exclusive coverage, we'd venture that the IBl clock started ticking about six months ago. Click the individual pages to expand them into extra-large, very readable versions.

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