Booster club member faces illegal betting felony charges

Sarah McKenzie

A member of the Golden Dunkers booster club will appear in Hennepin County District Court on May 23, facing three-year-old felony sports bookmaking charges.
The alleged bets were placed on basketball games involving Tulane University and the University of Arkansas, according to a published report. The University of Minnesota was not mentioned in the complaint.
The defendant, 53-year-old Gerald Greenfield, has been a member of the booster club for the past several years. He said he vehemently denies the bookmaking charges. He owns a licensed used-car dealership.
The charges were filed against the Bloomington resident in April by the Minnesota attorney general’s office.
“This is a three-year-old problem,” said Greenfield, who earned a pharmacy degree from the University in the 1960s. “The University has nothing to do with this.”
The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that court documents filed in March indicate Greenfield accepted bets by telephone for hockey and basketball games in 1996. Some bets were for as much as $3,000.
University President Mark Yudof appointed a five-member task force May 6 to examine booster club financial policies.
The task force was appointed after the Pioneer Press reported that the Golden Dunkers paid for a Las Vegas golf vacation for Gophers men’s basketball coaches and their spouses.
Greenfield said he believes the appointed task force is a “knee-jerk reaction” to newspaper reports of alleged misconduct in the men’s athletic department and basketball team.
He criticized news reports that have shed a negative light on the athletic department and institution. Greenfield claims that the charges were filed only after the booster club came under fire.
“The University has suffered enough indignation,” Greenfield said.
He said the Golden Dunkers plan to cooperate with the investigation and that he believes the organization will be exonerated from charges of alleged wrongdoing.
The Pioneer Press earlier reported that the booster club might have violated federal law by claiming the organization as a charity organization on tax forms. The organization also allegedly told members that they could take income tax deductions for contributions.
ù The eligibility of Bobby Jackson, former Gopher men’s basketball player who led the team to a Final Four appearance in 1997, came under scrutiny in a report published in the Pioneer Press on Saturday.
The report alleges a handful of possible violations that illustrate how members of the academic counseling unit secured Jackson’s eligibility by bending several Big Ten and NCAA rules.
Jackson, who did not earn a degree, transferred to the University after three years at Western Nebraska Community College. He is now a member of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.
The allegations suggest Jackson was six credits shy of the 117 credits needed to compete under Big Ten Conference guidelines in the fall of 1995, when Jackson transferred.

— Wire reports contributed to this story