According to WHEC-TV in Rochester, New York, a NBC affiliate, Thomas Vanek has been connected to an ongoing federal gambling investigation. WHEC reported this after being tipped off that Vanek appeared at a federal court in Rochester today, emerging two hours later. Vanek has not been charged with any crimes and WHEC reports that he visited the court voluntarily.
Reports indicate that his appearance is linked to an investigation of the Marina Restaurant and Bar in Charlotte, NY, where three men allegedly conducted an illegal gambling business since January 2012. The three men — Paul Borrelli, Joseph Ruff, and Mark Ruff — were indicted in June on charges of gambling and money laundering, according to a FBI press release.
Vanek’s agent, Steve Bartlett, submitted this statement on Vanek’s behalf to both the Star Tribune and WHEC: “Representatives of the U.S. Federal Government have asked for my cooperation in an investigation. I am not the subject of any investigation or prosecution. I will fully cooperate with the U.S. Federal authorities in their investigation or in any proceedings arising out of it.” Bartlett also said that Vanek is a witness in a federal case, not citing this particular case.
The Pioneer Press’ Chad Graff highlights an article dated back to 2013 from the Grand Rapids Griffins’ website that cites Nathan Paetsch, a former teammate of Vanek’s, as being “involved in a partnership that owns five commercial properties and the Marina Restaurant & Bar in Rochester.”
Nothing more is known then that Vanek appeared in court. All other reports are speculation at this point.
Vanek signed a three-year, $19.5 million contract with the Wild on July 1.
View the report from WHEC-TV below.
The NHL and the Minnesota Wild have not made any comment at this time.
We will add details to this post as information becomes available and verified.
7/21 – 8:51 EST: The Wild released a statement that simply says, “We are aware of Thomas Vanek’s cooperation with a federal investigation and have no further comment at this time.”
— Minnesota Wild PR (@mnwildPR) July 22, 2014