Friday, July 11, 2008

Twenty Questions for Dan Rootenberg

Something's going on behind the scenes of the supposedly new and improved Israel Baseball League, and it doesn't bode well for their headline-changing promise of a four-team, 20-game, three-week, momentum-keeping mini-season beginning July 27th. Player Dan Rootenberg, who was plucked from the ranks and plopped into the role of "in-coming President" certainly put a fresh, new, Obamalike face on the embattled, secretive IBL operation. But weeks after his installment, for all his good intentions, he appears to be the odd man out, while backroom dealings continue with the involvement of the Cheney-like, bunkered-down IBL founder Larry Baras.

Dan is a straight-up guy who deserves our respect. He's placed himself in a very difficult role with a very arduous task ahead. We should know, because we, led by Our Man Elli in Israel, have been alone in reporting the shenanigans of the IBL for about a year now.

Elli spoke on the phone with Dan a week ago, and at Dan's request, followed up with twenty questions that he'd promised to respond to by today.

But then Dan stalled, asked to have until Sunday. Then Monday.

Then Tuesday.

He's stalling us. Obviously his IBL teammates are stalling him.

By now, we know some of the answers to the questions. We've reported them. Others have no answers, but need to be asked for the record.

We wanted Dan-- the official "in-coming president" of the IBL-- to have a chance to set the record straight. But it appears that he's not in a position to get the answers. Perhaps his former colleagues, IBL apologists like Leon Feingold or Eric Holtz, can answer.

Better that somebody answers them now, before they're forced to answer, under oath.

Here are Our Man Elli's 20 questions for Dan Rootenberg:

1) How much of the $1.5 million in IBL debts from last year has been paid?

2) Has Kfar Hayarok been paid? If not, will it be? What about Gezer?

3) Does the IBL owe money to the JNF for the roughly half million dollars given last year by the JNF to the IBL?

4) Is it true that most of the money being used to pay players now came from Israeli VAT refunds relating to last year's activities, and the proceeds from the sale of Maximo Nelson to Japan-- in other words, not from new investors?

5) How many investors have signed on to the new season?

6) When will the private placement memorandum necessary to raise most of the money needed by the IBL be available?

7) Is it true that the IAB is requiring the IBL to make a security deposit ($200,000) in order to be re-licensed, which the IBL hasn't been able to make?

8) If the IAB doesn't acknowledge a license with the IBL, will the IBL try anyway to conduct a league?

9) Who is controlling the finances of the new league - Solomont? Baras? Duquette? You?

10) Will David Solomont's brother, Jay, have any involvement in the league?

11) Is it true that Larry Baras still has a large ownership stake in the IBL?

12) Will Dan Duquette be the CEO of the revamped league? If so, would you be reporting to Duquette, or to someone else?

13) Have plane tickets for this year's players been purchased?

14) Where will the players be staying during the summer? Have there been any payments made reserving those arrangements?

15) Have the player's uniforms been ordered and paid for?

16) Is the league supplying bats or will the players have to bring their own?

17) How many players have committed to playing this summer, and what percentage is from last season?

18) Who are the managers and coaches?

19) What is the drop-dead date for declaring that there is no season this year?

20) If there is no season this summer, are there plans to continue efforts to create a season in 2009?

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