SBD/February 24, 2012/Franchises

Pirates President Frank Coonelly Apologizes For December DUI

Coonelly's license will be suspended and he will attend alcohol education classes

Pirates President Frank Coonelly "issued an apology Thursday for his arrest in December for drunken driving," according to Bill Brink of the PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE. Allegheny County court records revealed that Coonelly was arrested Dec. 22 and "charged with driving under the influence, driving with a suspended or revoked license, driving the wrong way and careless driving." Coonelly said in a statement, "My actions that evening were irresponsible and wrong." Robert Del Greco, Coonelly's attorney, said that his client "plans to enter the Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition program, which allows first-time offenders to avoid a trial and have their charges dismissed if they complete certain requirements." Del Greco added that Coonelly's license "will be suspended and he will attend alcohol educations classes in addition to working with a counselor" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 2/24). Pirates Owner Bob Nutting said that he "was thankful that nobody was injured and expressed support for Coonelly." Nutting: "Frank called me immediately to apologize for the mistake he had made. I expressed my extreme disappointment in his actions" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 2/24). In Pittsburgh, Dejan Kovacevic notes, "No punishment for Coonelly is forthcoming from Major League Baseball, and it doesn't sound like any will come from Nutting, either" (PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW, 2/24).

COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION: In Pittsburgh, Bob Smizik writes, "If Frank Coonelly has not been fired for gross incompetence, it’s not likely he will be fired for drunk driving and embarrassing the organization that employs him." Coonelly "gives new meaning to Teflon," as "nothing sticks" to him. Smizik: "Not incomprehensibly bad business decisions. Not publicly lying about personnel issues. Not a long series of embarrassing public gaffes/blunders." But "no organization is immune from the court of public opinion" (POST-GAZETTE.com, 2/24).

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