tampabay.com

Yankees official charged with DUI

Steve Swindal was pulled over by a police officer for speeding.

By ABHI RAGHUNATHAN AND MARC TOPKIN
Published February 16, 2007


ST. PETERSBURG - Steve Swindal, George Steinbrenner's son-in-law and handpicked successor to take over the New York Yankees, was arrested early Thursday on a driving under the influence charge.

Swindal, 52, was pulled over in the 1300 block of 31st Street S in St. Petersburg after an officer clocked him driving at 61 mph in a 35 mph zone, according to an arrest affidavit.

The 2:37 a.m. arrest came just hours before the Yankees opened spring training at Legends Field on Thursday morning with a workout for pitchers and catchers.

Swindal had "slurred, mumbled speech," "bloodshot, watery eyes" and "swaying, stumbling, staggering motor control," the affidavit said. He failed field sobriety tests and refused to submit to a Breathalyzer test, the affidavit said.

Police spokesman Bill Proffitt said Swindal did not at first disclose that he worked for the Yankees. His arrest affidavit lists "Marine Towing" as his employer.

Swindal serves as chairman of a Tampa company called Marine Towing, according to the company's Web site. His main job, though, is with the Yankees. It was only after officers went through Swindal's wallet that they came across a card suggesting his position with the club, Proffitt said.

As a general partner of the New York Yankees, Swindal oversees all areas of the club's business and baseball operations. He is also a member of Major League Baseball's ownership committee and has been named Steinbrenner's successor. He was first elected a general partner with the club in 1998.

Gov. Charlie Crist recently appointed him as group leader for a citizen review group examining economic development agencies such as the Department of Revenue and the Office of Tourism.

Proffitt described the DUI arrest as "pretty standard."

A prominent member of Tampa society, Swindal is married to Steinbrenner's daughter Jennifer. Before joining the Yankees, he worked for a wholesale furniture company run by his family and was chairman and chief executive of a towing company.

Howard J. Rubenstein, a spokesman for Steinbrenner, issued a statement after the arrest saying:

"Mr. Swindal apologizes profusely for this distraction during the Yankees' spring training, and no further comment will be made until this is resolved."

Swindal, who lives on Davis Islands, did not return a call seeking comment.

It is unclear what effect the arrest will have on Swindal's position among baseball executives. Commissioner Bud Selig issued a statement saying he would have no further comment until the case was resolved but would monitor the situation.

Proffitt said Swindal was driving on Central Avenue on Thursday morning when he made a sharp left turn onto 31st Street in front of a police cruiser. Officer Terri Nagle had to brake and take evasive action to keep from crashing into Swindal, Proffitt said.

The officer then followed Swindal, who was driving a two-door 2007 Mercedes owned by the Yankees, and saw him swerving in and out of his lane. After clocking his excessive speed with a radar unit, Proffitt said, police had him pull over.

Times researcher Angie Drobnic Holan contributed to this report. Abhi Raghunathan can be reached at araghunathan@sptimes or (727) 893-8472.