In May, the story of David Wilder came and went with little fuss. The details were weird but relatively innocuous. An executive with the Chicago White Sox, Wilder had been fired for allegedly skimming money off the top of contracts with prospects from the Dominican Republic.
As the director, Wilder was allegedly pocketing some of the money that was meant for newly signed players, which is, you know, really wrong, made even more so by the fact that most of the players he was stealing from likely needed the money much more than he did.
So what was Wilder doing with his money? Apparently, he was funding his gay bar, Club Burn, a Phoenix establishment that was operating a loss despite being named Phoenix's best gay bar in 2007:
As Wilder was ascending through the Sox organization, he was pursuing a costly dream of owning a nightclub in Phoenix, where he lives. According to documents obtained by the Tribune, Wilder in November 2006 opened a night spot, Club Burn, that operated "at a great loss" despite being voted Phoenix's top gay bar in 2007. Records show it lost about $570,000 in a matter of months and closed its doors in January 2008.
In a brief telephone interview, Wilder disputed how much money he lost on Club Burn. He declined to discuss the allegations that cost him his Sox job and then hung up the phone. He has not responded to numerous messages since. His attorney also declined to comment.
U.S. & World
Well then. That's ... interesting. Funding any sort of personal project with stolen company funds is bad, bad, bad. And Ozzie Guillen and Kenny Williams are not exactly Harvey Milk -- who knows how they'll react once they hear it was a bar for gay dudes.
Wilder had other big expenses: He used to own six houses before he sold two of them, and last month he filed a petition to lower his child support payments, as his new salary had dropped to "$7.25 an hour." Here's where a crueler blogger would make a joke about Wilder going to wait tables at Club Burn. Sorry. We're not touching that with a ten foot ... ahem ... pole.
Eamonn Brennan is a writer, editor and blogger hunkered down in Lincoln Park. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, FanHouse, MOUTHPIECE Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com.