by Circles Robinson
HAVANA TIMES — Cuba’s Aroldis Chapman, 24, has been cruising in his best season in the Major Leagues with a perfect record and 0.00 ERA, but he now faces a lawsuit that might take away a good slice of his $30 million contract with the Cincinnati Reds.
Pitching this year as a late inning reliever, Chapman has recorded a whopping 36 strikeouts in 20.1 innings. However, a situation that allegedly took place several years ago in Cuba has come to haunt him in the United States.
Maylen Turruellas Mendez ,the wife of a man sentenced to ten years in Cuba, filed suit in a Miami court alleging that Chapman conspired with Cuban authorities, leading to the arrest, torture and sentencing of her husband Danilo Curbelo García, in Holguin, reported DPA news agency.
“He (Chapman) ruined my family,” said Turruellas who is asking for $18 million dollars in damages. “I know it will be hard, but I have faith that justice will be served and we can win this case so that everyone can see what type of person Aroldis Chapman is.”
The suit claims that Curbelo visited Chapman’s parents in July 2008 and during his short stay on the island he had a casual meeting with Chapman, noting that a player like him “could earn millions in the United States.”
“My husband only praised the athlete, and days later the police came to his parents home and said he was under investigation,” said the plantiff. “Later they arrested him and Chapman was the main witness in the trial. His statement was full of lies and for that reason he was allowed back on to Team Cuba.”
Aroldis had been suspended for having tried to illegally leave the island, noted DPA. In 2009 he was allowed back on the national team and took advantage of an event in Holland to skip out. He then began a journey that would end up landing him with the $30 million MLB contract.
Turruellas lawyer, Avelino González, said the Cuban court “accepted the opinion of Chapman and his father, which sent Curbelo to prison for ten years.”
Cubans in Cuba, as well as the Cuban government, almost always lose trials in Miami, without a defense, and their accusers are routinely granted millions of dollars.
However in this case, Chapman is in the United States and may face a long and expensive legal battle.
No statement about the suit has appeared thus far in the Cuban media, and Chapman himself, like all players who abandon the island to go professional, has been a non-person since he left Cuba.