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Flushing man’s suit against Yankees dismissed

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A Flushing activist’s lawsuit that accused members of the New York Yankees of physically abusing him and firing him because he is gay and HIV-positive was dismissed last week by the New York State Court of Appeals.

Paul Priore, 39, a former assistant equipment manager for the Yankees, filed a lawsuit against the baseball team and three specific ball players in State Supreme Court in the Bronx in 1998, telling the court that players had tried to rape and sodomize him and that the team had fired him for being gay and HIV-positive.

A lower court had decided that the case should go to trial, but in May 2003, the State Supreme Court’s Appellate Division unanimously reversed that decision on the grounds that the case should not go to trial because there was no evidence that team officials knew that Priore had the HIV virus.

“To have a trial, you have to have some evidence to support your claim,” said Gary Spencer, a spokesman for the New York State Court of Appeals, the highest court in the state.

“The motion for leave to appeal was denied on Dec. 22, 2003. The leave to appeal was the last step in the state case.”

Priore, a Flushing resident who has tried to improve Flushing Meadows Corona Park, said he was surprised and outraged to hear that the court had decided not to hear the case without giving any reason.

“If it had been a woman or a child, people would be accepting these things much easier, but because I’m an HIV-positive gay man, people don’t know how to deal with it,” said Priore. “I’m disgusted with the whole legal system that they could refuse to hear a case. When it comes to me, apparently the law doesn’t work.”

Priore said he would like to try to take the case to federal courts.

“People don’t realize if this decision stays, it’s going to affect other people in the near future. It means that anyone can abuse anybody and discriminate against anybody,” said Priore.

Priore’s lawyer, Edward Pavia Jr., did not return calls.

A spokesman for the New York Yankees said the ball team had no comment on the dismissed suit.

“It’s been dismissed and we’ll let it stand at that,” the spokesman said.

Priore said he grew up with the Yankees because his father, Nicholas Priore, was the equipment manager for the team for 43 years. He began working as an assistant equipment manager for the team off the books in 1990 and was officially put on the payroll in 1996, he said.

Priore said his problems with the teams stemmed from his getting involved with several players sexually.

Several other players then tried to rape and sodomize him, Priore said.

In 1997, the Yankees fired Priore.

The Yankees have said that they fired the assistant equipment manager largely because they believed he stole players’ worn T-shirts, baseballs and broken bats that were to be thrown away. But Priore said he was fired for being gay and HIV-positive and the organization does not want the case to go to trial because “a lot of stuff is going to come out.”

Last month Priore suffered another loss when his gay lover, Guillermo Sanchez, 21, of Woodside, committed suicide by hanging himself from a tree in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, according to police.

“I’m so disgusted with everything,” said Priore. “I’m still trying to get over Guillermo’s death, and then I have this brought up. I’ve never heard of not being able to have due process. I rely on the legal system to stand up for me and give me the same protection as everyone else and I don’t even get these rights.”

Reach reporter Tien-Shun Lee by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com, or call 718-229-0300, ext. 155.

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Reader Feedback

Paul Priore from Flushing, NY says:

January 9, 2015

Hon. Congressman Elijah E. Cummings
2230 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Hon. Elijah E. Cummings,

My name is Paul Priore, and I am a former New York Yankees clubhouse attendant.

I've written a controversial tell-all book, entitled Abused by the New York Yankees, about my various experiences working for the Yankees.

Here is the book's website:

www.abusedbytheyankees.com

The book goes into many details of the organization's duplicitous business practices.

Every factually described event narrated in the book is 100% true.

I have left no stone unturned.

The book is based on matters which I personally overheard, witnessed, experienced, or was otherwise made privy to.

After both of you have had the opportunity to read the entire book, I respectfully request that you conduct a full, fair, and unbiased investigation into all aspects of the contents which you feel reflect a violation of Federal law, New York law, or generally accepted standards of ethical conduct.

In fact, I would welcome a Congressional hearing in which the people mentioned in the book, many of whom are still alive, are subpoenaed to give relevant testimony.

You may hear things which point out the need for additional Federal oversight of Major League Baseball, in general.

Back in the 1990s, I brought a lawsuit against the Yankees, three of their players, and the general manager, in an attempt to get justice and financial compensation with respect to an unjust dismissal and discrimination.

Despite the fact that a lower court judge in the Bronx viewed the case as being appropriate for a jury trial, an appellate court in Manhattan overturned that decision, and, subsequently, New York's highest court, the Court of Appeals, declined to hear the case.

Here is a link to the appellate court's decision:

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/ny-supreme-court-appellate-division/1390545.html

As has been fully explained in the book, it is my view that (the late) George Steinbrenner and the Yankees were able to use their influence to get the appellate court to block a jury trial out of their fear that the truth would be exposed.

The trauma and horror of my ordeal has bothered me, to this very day, to get the complete truth out there by any means possible.

Someday, I hope to be able to move on from the constant horror and trauma that I still experience each day.

I will look forward to hearing from you, or your designees, especially, if you decide to pursue a Congressional hearing based on information that came to your attention from your reading my book.

I would like to receive the justice and satisfaction that are way overdue me, and I really need your help in doing so.

At the end of the book, you will learn that I took a computer voice stress analyzer test (which I like to call a "truth test") and passed it with flying colors.

Why did I take such a test?

It's because I have spoken the truth since Day One, and continue to do so today.

Thank you for having taken the time to read this email.

I hope both of you will also read the book from start to finish, and will consider conducting the Congressional hearing referred to above.

Sincerely,

Paul Priore

Cc My Co-writer Mr. Gary Toushek
Jan. 10, 2015, 10:57 pm
Paul Priore from Queens says:
To all concerned:

My name is Paul Priore, and I am the former New York Yankees clubhouse attendant who was mentioned in Dylan Vox's article.

I'm the coauthor of a tell-all book about my life and experiences working for the New York Yankees.

I've included a lot of detail as to what happened to me.

I would encourage everyone to look at the book's website:

www.abusedbytheyankees.com

If you choose to purchase the book, "Abused by the New York Yankees," I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

I've exposed many things about the Yankees organization and a majority of the baseball players who were team members in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

I've left no stone unturned.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Paul Priore

(ex-NY Yankees clubhouse attendant)
Jan. 28, 2015, 1 pm

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