A public relations worker for the Los Angeles Angels advised federal investigators that he offered oxycodone to Tyler Skaggs and abused it with him for years, and that two crew officers had been advised about Skaggs’ drug use lengthy earlier than his demise, in accordance with two sources accustomed to the investigation.
Eric Kay, the Angels’ director of communications, additionally gave U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration brokers the names of 5 different gamers who he believed had been utilizing opiates whereas they had been Angels, the sources mentioned.
Kay’s lawyer, Michael Molfetta, reached late Friday, confirmed the main points of Kay’s statements, given in separate conferences with DEA brokers in Dallas and Los Angeles in late September.
Skaggs died in a Southlake, Texas, resort room on July 1 from choking on his personal vomit, in accordance with the Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Workplace. He was 27. Skaggs’ post-mortem, launched Aug. 30, discovered proof of fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol in his system. Outdoors the Traces reported on Sept. 18 that the DEA had begun an investigation into the supply of the fentanyl.
Kay advised investigators he illegally obtained six oxycodone drugs and gave three to Skaggs a day or two earlier than the crew left California for the street journey to Texas, in accordance with the 2 sources. Kay advised DEA brokers he doesn’t assume the drugs he obtained for Skaggs had been the identical ones the pitcher took the day he died as a result of Skaggs sometimes would ingest the drugs instantly after receiving them from Kay, the sources mentioned. Skaggs additionally texted Kay the day the crew left for Texas looking for extra oxycodone, a request Kay advised investigators he was unable to satisfy, the sources mentioned.
Brokers initially realized about oxycodone transactions between Kay and Skaggs after reviewing textual content messages between the 2, in accordance with the sources.
Kay advised DEA investigators that hours earlier than Skaggs’ demise in July, Skaggs was in his Southlake Hilton resort room and texted Kay to go to him, in accordance with a supply accustomed to what Kay advised the DEA. Kay additionally advised investigators that Skaggs snorted three traces of crushed opioids in entrance of him, the sources mentioned. Kay acknowledged that two of the traces might have been crushed oxycodone, however the third was not a substance he acknowledged, the sources mentioned. Kay mentioned he didn’t take any medication regardless of being supplied them by Skaggs, the sources mentioned, as a result of he was on a medicine that might have negated the consequences.
After Skaggs’ explanation for demise was introduced, his household issued an announcement saying, “We had been shocked to study that it might contain an worker of the Los Angeles Angels. We won’t relaxation till we study the reality about how Tyler got here into possession of those narcotics, together with who equipped them.”
On Saturday, the household’s lawyer, Rusty Hardin, mentioned, “We’re persevering with to await the outcomes of the federal government investigation.”
Kay’s mom, Sandy, reached by Outdoors the Traces, mentioned her son began abusing opioids a couple of years after his father died in 1998. Eric Kay is at present in outpatient remedy for substance abuse and has been positioned on paid depart from the Angels.
Kay advised investigators that he and Skaggs had labored out an association wherein Kay would get hold of medication for Skaggs and himself, and Skaggs would pay for them. Outdoors the Traces reviewed Venmo transactions alleged to have occurred between Skaggs and Kay, which present a sequence of funds over two years starting from $150 to $600.
Kay has sought remedy for substance abuse twice this 12 months, in accordance with his mom and his spouse, Camela. Whereas recovering within the hospital from an overdose on April 22, Kay obtained a textual content from Skaggs looking for medication, they mentioned. Sandy was visiting her son within the hospital on the time, alongside his spouse and Tim Mead, the previous Angels vice chairman of communications and Kay’s supervisor. Sandy advised Outdoors the Traces she noticed the texts and advised Mead that the crew wanted to get Skaggs “off his again.”
Mead, who left the Angels in June to develop into president of the Baseball Corridor of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, advised Outdoors the Traces he would not recall listening to Skaggs’ title in that dialog, or that Skaggs was an opioid consumer at some other time.
In accordance with the 2 sources accustomed to what Kay advised DEA investigators, Kay advised brokers that he had first talked about Skaggs’ use to Mead in 2017. As well as, Kay advised investigators a few second Angels official who knew of Skaggs’ use.
“I’ve had plenty of conversations with Eric Kay about plenty of issues, however opioids and Tyler Skaggs weren’t one in every of them,” he mentioned. Requested if he was ever conscious that Skaggs used opioids earlier than his demise, Mead mentioned, “No.”
Angels crew spokesperson Marie Garvey advised Outdoors the Traces that the second official additionally denied figuring out about gamers ever looking for medication or Skaggs’ use of them. “We’re shocked to listen to these studies. … We had no prior information of Tyler or some other member of the Angels group having abused opioids or any narcotic and proceed to work with legislation enforcement to get solutions.”
Below Main League Baseball’s guidelines, any crew official made conscious of a participant’s drug abuse should report it to the commissioner’s workplace instantly. An MLB official accustomed to discussions between the Angels and MLB however who spoke on the situation of anonymity mentioned nobody from the Angels ever made such a notification.
“MLB was unaware of any of those allegations,” an MLB spokesman advised Outdoors the Traces. “MLB will totally cooperate with the federal government investigation and conduct its personal investigation when the federal government investigation is accomplished.”
In accordance with a June 11, 2019, tweet from Kay, Mead “took over that father determine function in my life.”
Molfetta, Kay’s lawyer, declined to permit Kay to remark for this story.
The presence of fentanyl in Skaggs’ system drew the eye of federal investigators. One senior DEA official advised Outdoors the Traces final month that the company sometimes will get concerned in fentanyl instances in an effort to trace the supply of the drug. Fentanyl, a strong artificial opioid typically present in counterfeit oxycodone, has been linked to plenty of high-profile drug-related deaths, together with musicians Prince, Tom Petty and Mac Miller.
In some alcohol- or drug-related deaths, a provider can face prison fees. A number of attorneys interviewed by Outdoors the Traces, nonetheless, mentioned it could be troublesome for prosecutors to show that Kay or anybody else was answerable for Skaggs’ demise, as it will be troublesome to determine precisely whether or not alcohol or which medication brought about his demise.
Requested if Kay was a goal of the investigation, Molfetta mentioned, “At this level, I’ve not been knowledgeable of that. I’ve been knowledgeable by one department of the U.S. Lawyer’s workplace that they don’t seem to be able to make that designation at the moment, and I’ve not broached that with the opposite workplace.”
This previous season was Kay’s 24th with the Angels; he began working for the crew as a communications employees intern in 1996, in accordance with the crew’s 2019 media information. Kay, 45, has been a director of communications since 2014.
Skaggs was a part of a three-team commerce that despatched him to the Angels from the Arizona Diamondbacks following the 2013 season.