Leonard Kyle "Lenny" Dykstra was a whoop-ass, energetic baseball player who starred for the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies in the 1980s and 1990s. He was on the New York Mets team that won the World Series in 1986.
Born in 1963, the diminutive (5'10") Dystra retired from professional baseball in 1996, having earned $36-million, and hit for .285 in 1278 major league games, but .320 in 13 World Series games, nicknamed Nails.
There were warning signs even when he was a famous and active baseball player. In May of 1991, he was driving while intoxicated and crashed his car, leaving his teammate and passenger Darren Daulton severely injured.
He invested in a car wash in Corona, California and his troubles began, slowly at first although his eccentricity and bizarre behaviour was legend.
Initially, Dykstra's investments took off at a torrid pace. In 2008, his net worth was estimated to be $58 million. Before his bankruptcy, he started a airline and a magazine for professional athletes, the latter known as Players Club.
But the downward spiral started shortly after he purchased a property from Wayne Gretzky for $17-million (1072 Newbern Court, Thousand Oaks, Ventura County, California).
The end started when Gentleman's Quarterly (GQ) ran an unflattering article about him in 2009. This was followed by an ESPN expose on the multiple lawsuits against him.
He heavily mortgaged the Gretzky property but was unable to make payments. Eventually, it was taken over in foreclosure proceedings and later sold for a reported $10 million.
In July of 2009, Dykstra filed for bankruptcy claiming that he only had $50,000 in assets, but debts of about $25-million.
In August of 2009, he was reported as living out of his car, estranged from his family who had lost their life savings in his various, failed ventures and get-rich schemes.
A month later, the following averments of facts were sworn to be true in his U.S. Bankruptcy Court, San Fernando Valley bankruptcy proceedings by an officer who had inspected the former Gretzky home after Dykstra was finally evicted:
"There were 2 1/2" deep holes in the floors throughout the house.... The home was littered throughout with empty beer bottles, trash, dog feces and urine and other unmentionables."
Lenny Dykstra could not leave bad enough alone.
His own bankruptcy trustee reported to the court that Dykstra had been deceitful, and delayed his discharge in bankruptcy.
Weird turned outright bizarre when, in April of 2011, this report by the New York Post:
"Former MLB star Lenny Dykstra, who was recently charged with bankruptcy fraud, was also being investigated by the LAPD for lewd conduct....
According to law enforcement officials, Dykstra, 48, stood accused of stripping in front of a woman applying to become his housekeeper and requesting a massage.
The 47-year-old applicant claims Dykstra told her rub downs would be within her (responsibilities) and (he then) got naked in preparation for her to display her skills.
She reportedly refused and left the property before reporting the incident to police."
At the same time, in Los Angeles, the FBI issued a statement:
"About a month after filing for bankruptcy, Dykstra was paid cash at a Los Angeles consignment store for personal items, including a truckload of furnishings and fixtures that he had taken from the Lake Sherwood mansion. Dykstra admitted in a bankruptcy hearing to having arranged the sale of sports memorabilia and a dresser that were property of the bankruptcy estate. Dykstra ripped out a $50,000 sink from his mansion and took granite from the mansion and installed it in an office he set up at the Camarillo airport after he had filed for bankruptcy protection."
Two weeks later, Dykstra, 48, hit rock bottom again when he was arrested and charged with indecent exposure. He was then indicted on May 6, 2011 by a federal grand jury that accused him of bankruptcy fraud for allegedly selling items from the Ventura County property, and obstruction of justice . There are 13 counts to the federal indictment for which Dykstra could face 80 years in prison.
In June, CNN reported:
"Lenny Dykstra, a three-time Major League Baseball All-Star who led the New York Mets to a World Series championship, appeared in Los Angeles Superior Court on Monday shackled, unshaven and slumped in a chair to answer multiple counts of attempted grand auto theft. The former baseball star pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted grand theft auto, eight counts of filing false financial statements, four counts of identity theft, three counts of grand theft auto and three counts of possession of a controlled substance. All are felonies."
Lenny Dykstra came up with the $150,000 bond even though his only declared source of income is a $5,700 monthly pension from Major League Baseball.
As of January 2012, he was under house arrest in California.
- Araton, Harvey, Once-Celebrated Recklessness Leads to Dykstra’s Financial Fall, New York Times [July 19, 2011]
- Federal Bureau of Investigation, US Attorney's Office, Central District of California, Former MLB Star Lenny Dykstra Charged in Bankruptcy Fraud Case That Alleges Sale of Items from Mansion, April 15, 2011.
- McGraith, Ben, Nails Never Fails, The New Yorker Magazine, March 24, 2008
- New York Post, Former Met Lenny Dykstra investigated by LAPD over alleged naked massage request, April 25, 2011