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Partner Sheldon Zenner and Associate Bryan Stroh Mentioned in New York Times, American Lawyer Articles on White Sox Whistleblower Case

Firm News | December 4, 2010

Sheldon Zenner, Co-Chair of the firm’s White Collar Criminal and Civil Litigation and Compliance Practice, and Bryan Stroh, an associate in the practice, were quoted in an article in the New York Times on the kickback scheme involving employees of the White Sox. The team's owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, called Katten after hearing about the scheme from a whistleblower. Mr. Zenner and Mr. Stroh then interviewed Dominican players who had been forced to kick back portions of their signing bonuses to several White Sox officials. David Wilder, who had been the senior director of player personnel for the team, initially offered innocent explanations, but his defense grew shakier when Katten attorneys began to ask more questions. Mr. Wilder and two other Sox employees were fired as a result of the investigation. On November 10, the employees were indicted on federal charges of taking kickbacks. (“Whistle-Blower Shows Courage at Center of White Sox Kickback Scheme,” December 4, 2010)

Mr. Zenner and Mr. Stroh were also quoted in a related article in The American Lawyer, describing the firm’s long-standing relationship with the White Sox and their role as investigators. “A lot of these kids were scared stiff and had no idea why they were being called in,” Mr. Zenner says. “It took a little while to assure them that there weren't being fired and had not done anything wrong, but that we needed them to be truthful with us. Like low-level folks in any organization, they were worried about the potential ramifications of implicating someone higher up in that organization.”

After the conclusion of the team’s own internal investigation, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the FBI began pursuing a criminal case, and the Katten attorneys again assisted with interviews and providing documentation. “Not every prosecutor or FBI agent understands the process of how baseball players are signed,” Mr. Stroh says. “Part of our process in turning things over was trying to bring them up to speed on the way things work, both in baseball and also within the White Sox organization when they signed players from the Dominican Republic.” (“Katten Muchin Lawyers Detail Role in Internal ChiSox Kickback Probe,” December 15, 2010)

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