Major League Baseball player Elijah Dukes was in court this week to explain why he has not paid his Florida child support, but his explanations did not make the reasons any clearer. Dukes was once a Tampa Bay Rays outfielder, but now he’s wearing a different uniform: a county jail standard issue orange jumpsuit.
Appearing before Judge Liz Rice in Hillsborough County, Dukes was asked about his finances and why he has failed to pay child support and alimony. The delinquency is over $40,000.
Rice was not satisfied with Duke’s explanations for his failure to pay. She said, “Mr. Dukes, we’re not holding you in jail because we like to see you in an orange jumpsuit. All we want you to do is honor your commitment to this court and to your family.”
In May, Dukes told the court that he had spent all but $1,500 of his professional baseball retirement account. He was ordered to use the remaining $1,500 to pay his child support.
Dukes failed to pay, and failed to appear at his next hearing. He was arrested Monday on charges of contempt of court and failure to appear.
The reason Dukes gave to Rice for not using the $1,500 to pay child support was that he loaned the money to a friend who was also struggling to pay child support. He says the man – whom he only knew as “Fred” from Atlanta – assured him that he would pay him back the money within a few days, but never did.
Rice set on a new hearing for November 22nd, and ordered Dukes to be released from jail. At that time, he has been ordered to produce evidence of his finances and detail any transactions in which he has given anyone any money.
Dukes says he has been homeless since he was released by the Washington Nationals in March.
In court, Dukes was asked about the diamond earrings he is wearing in his driver’s license photo, and a Cadillac Escalade he owns. He replied that the car was repossessed and that he sold the earrings. If you were arrested for DUI in Palm Beach Gardens, don’t forget to contact us!