Denny McLain strikes out again?

Denny McLain - he's known as a superstar pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and as a crook who stole millions from his own employees.

So when we heard workers at his latest business venture weren't getting paid, Rob Wolchek investigated.

He's been called a competitor and a con artist.  A cheat and a champion. What's he up to now?  His business associates say - no good.

Denny McLain doesn't seem too happy to see Wolchek, who visited him at the Warren steel business where he claims to be CEO.

"I'm getting damn tired of anything when it's Denny McLain," he said. "I'm getting damn tired of it. I really am."

Well you know what some of his employees are tired of? 

"Denny McLain," Richard said.

Wolchek: "How much money does he owe you?"

Richard: "Thousands."

Jeff and Richard say McLain hasn't paid them for weeks.

"He tells you one thing and does something else," Jeff said.

Wolchek: "So you think McLain is up to monkey business?"

Lou Ristovski: "Yes"

This is Lou Ristovski.  He and Denny met in federal prison when Lou was in for IRS violations and Denny in for embezzling $2.5 million from the pension fund of a business he owned.

Why Lou would agree to turn over his steel business to Denny is anyone's guess, but he did last September.  Lou says McLain promised to pay him $14,000 a month.

"When May came his payments started coming in late," Ristovski said. "July, he partially paid. August, he still owes."

And Ristovski claims checks Denny was writing to his vendors were bouncing - like this one - angering clients he has been dealing with for years.

And FOX 2 spoke to some vendors who say McLain owes them thousands of dollars. And we spoke to workers who say Denny's been dodging them.

"I think its wrong man," Jeff said. "I work. I need my money. I've got bills to pay."

Wolchek: "He’s been to prison and stuff."

"For embezzlement," Richard said.

Wolchek: "And for cheating his workers - and you're one of his workers"

"Yep, I'm one of his workers," Richard said.

In the 1990s Denny cheated the workers of Peet Packing company of Chesaning, Michigan by embezzling millions from their pension fund and driving the company out of business.  He was convicted and spent six years in prison.

It has been a long fall from grace for the one-time Tigers superstar.  McLain is the last pitcher in history to have a 30-win season.  He's a two time Cy Young Award winner and the American League MVP from 1968. 

Now others are worried he's throwing curveballs once again in his business dealings.

What's Denny got to say?

McLain: "Everybody we owed money to, has been paid"

Wolchek: "And the workers included?"

McLain: "Everybody we owed money to, has been paid"

That's not what Wolchek has heard and at least one steel vendor says Denny owes them thousands.

Wolchek: "My producer talked to some dude in Indiana ..."

McLain: "Indiana? We have nothing to do with Indiana."

Denny acts like all these complaints are news to him.

Wolchek: "Have you paid the rent and everything here?"

McLain: "It's currently paid, 100 percent paid."

Wolchek: "I heard you have not paid rent."

McLain: "Well it’s a lie, another lie, an absolute lie. Would you make your payments if the facilities weren't correct?"

Wolchek is a little confused.  Denny says he's paying, and then claims he's not paying because the building is in bad shape.


Wolchek tells Denny he admired him when he was striking out batters, but he's been striking out with the law ever since.

Wolchek: "Well Denny, like I said, you were one of my heroes, and you have a notorious past and you've been in trouble before. So ..."

McLain: "Notorious in your world, notorious as you understand it, and you don't know all the facts but we don't have time for that."

Wolchek: "But you did do prison time."

McLain: "Maybe a lot of us should have."

Denny promised to meet Wolchek at 1 p.m. Thursday to set the record straight. He was at the steel plant waiting, but McLain wasn't. Then he said he would meet with him at 3:30 and he did not make it. He then shows up at the station at about 6 p.m. but instead of bringing proof that he was paying people, he attacked them calling them "liars" and scumbags" and brought a long list of problems for the building he is working in.

Here is what Denny had to say:

McLain: "Okay then. Then let’s prove credibility. Then you, then you come back on the air again and you say you know what, Denny McLain was right. All of these things are true."

Wolchek: "I’m not saying those things aren’t right, I’m just saying that I also believe that you haven’t been paying people."

McLain: "We pay everybody we can, yeah, we’ve had some problems like everybody else,  the steel business, I don’t know if you watch TV or not, but if you’ve been hearing from what’s her name, Mrs. Clinton and you’ve heard from Donald Trump, they’ve all got the same story, the steel business is hurting real bad.  Otherwise thousands ..."

Wolchek: "Then why did you get in the steel business then?"

McLain: "Because we saw an opportunity, we had an opportunity; we had a niche that we thought we were going to win with. And we did for a while."
 


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