Associated PressThe man they nicknamed “Nails”
For the better part of a year, residents of Stockton Circle in Linden have been complaining Lenny Dykstra has been ruining their lives.
They say the former Mets and Phillies star baseball player has littered their neighborhood with piles of garbage and that he rents illegal apartments in his home. The neighbors complain that strange people have been coming and going through their community at all hours. The bizarre allegations are the latest controversy to haunt the now-infamous former athlete.
The 1986 World Series champion, three-time All Star and 12-year MLB veteran has seen a lot of trouble since his glory days.
Dykstra’s exploits include a drunk driving crash, indecent exposure charges, sexual assault allegations, a federal bankruptcy case and grand theft auto case that landed him in jail for several months.
And now, his neighbors in Union County don’t like him.
Dykstra began his career as a prized prospect before being called up to the big leagues by the New York Mets in 1985. He was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1989. It was shortly after that trade that his legal woes began.
CourtsideTweets1991 drunken crash following a bachelor party
Dykstra lost control of his car and smashed into two trees in Pennsylvania and was found to have a blood-alcohol level of .178, according to an article from the New York Times.
Dykstra suffered a broken right collarbone, three broken ribs and a broken cheekbone, and a punctured lung.
“I screwed up big-time. I’m human,” Dykstra said in the article. “I wish I could change what happened, but I can’t. What happened was because of poor judgment on my part. I’m sorry about what the fans and the kids had to find out. I not only hurt myself, I hurt the team.”
File1991 sexual battery charge
Three years after his retirement, Dykstra was arrested in October 1999 on charges that he sexually harassed a 17-year-old female employee at a car wash he owned in Simi Valley, CA, according to a CBS article.
At the time of the arrest, Dykstra spokesman Allan Mayer said the teenager claimed Dykstra touched her outside her clothing.
He was cleared of the misdemeanor charges of sexual battery and child annoyance in November 1999.
AP2007, named in Mitchell Report on steroid use
Dykstra was one of dozens of players named in the December 2007 Mitchell Report, a 21-month investigation by former U.S. Sen. George Mitchell into steroid use in Major League Baseball.
Dykstra has admitted his steroid use on multiple occasions including his comments in a book by Randall Lane, The Zeroes: My Misadventures in the Decade Wall Street Went Insane.
“You know, I was like a pioneer for that stuff,” Dykstra said. “The juice. I was like the very first to do that. Me and (Jose) Canseco.”
He later joked that he put HGH “in (his) cereal.”
“We’re talking about the difference of making $30 million or getting a real job and working and making $60,000,” Dykstra said. “Do you want the guy next to you taking them and you’re not going to take them?”
Other players named in the report were Barry Bonds, baseball’s career home run leader, and former Yankees Jason Giambi and Roger Clemens.
AP2011 alleged assault by housekeeper
In 2011, Dykstra’s housekeeper accused him of sexual assault, but prosecutors declined to file charges after they cited a lack of evidence, according to the LA Times.
The article states that the woman alleged that Dykstra forced her to give him oral sex on Saturdays and that she did not report the alleged assaults until after he failed to pay her $2,000 he owed her.
Wall Street Journal2011 indecent exposure charge in L.A.
Dykstra was charged on August 2011 with exposing himself to a string of women who answered his Craigslist employment ads, according to a Reuters report.
He was charged with two misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure after prosecutors said he exposed himself to six women who answered ads he placed on Craigslist between 2009 and April 2011 seeking a housekeeper or personal assistant.
He was sentenced in 2012 to nine months in jail after pleading no contest, according to CNN.
Dan Patrick Show2011, acccused of writing bad check to escort
In 2011, an escort claimed Dykstra bounced a $1000 check he wrote to her after he hired her as “his companion to have drinks and conversation with,” in Los Angeles, according to Business Insider.
The woman also claimed on her blog that she received emails from two other women who were not paid in full by Dykstra and that he stole one of their credit cards, the article states.
The Herd2012 conviction in grand theft auto case
Dykstra was sentenced to three years in a California state prison in March 2012 after pleading no contest to grand theft auto and providing a false financial statement.
A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge sentenced him after refusing to allow him to withdraw his plea and said the scam to lease high-end automobiles from dealerships by providing fraudulent information and claiming credit through a phony business “showed sophistication and extensive planning.”
Dykstra pleaded not guilty to 25 counts after police arrested him in June 2011 and allegedly found cocaine, ecstasy and synthetic human growth hormone at his Los Angeles home. He changed his plea in October 2011 to no contest and in exchange prosecutors dropped 21 counts.
Dykstra was released from prison in July 2013 after serving six and a half months of his sentence.
AP2012, federal bankruptcy case
Dykstra pleaded guilty in 2012 and was later sentenced to 6 1/2 months in federal custody following bankruptcy fraud and other federal charges, according to CNN.
The indictment stemmed from a bankruptcy case that Dykstra filed in 2009. He was accused of removing, destroying and selling property that was part of the bankruptcy estate without the permission of the bankruptcy trustee, the article states. Dykstra had listed assets of $24.6 million and overall debts of $37.1 million including a California mansion he had purchased from NHL all-time great Wayne Gretzky that was valued at $18.5 million, and a home in Westlake Village worth an estimated $5.4 million. “Dykstra specifically admitted he committed bankruptcy fraud by lying about whether he had taken and sold items from his $18 million Sherwood mansion after creditors seized the property,” the article states. “Dykstra also admitted that there were at least 10 creditors who were victims of his crimes, and those victims each lost between $200,000 and $400,000.” He was accused of taking $400,000 worth of fixtures, including chandeliers, mirrors, a stove and a grandfather clock from the mansion and secretly selling them. He was also accused of secretly selling $15,000 worth of memorabilia including baseball gloves, balls and bats.
His prison term ran concurrently with the three-year sentence in the grand theft auto case.
File2015, accused of stealing 50K in jewelry from porn star
Dykstra was accused of stealing $50,000 in jewelry from Brett Rossi, a porn star who had been engaged to Charlie Sheen, TMZ Sports reported in 2015.
Rossi told TMZ that Dykstra offered to help her sell jewelry and that he kept everything except for a pair of diamond earrings. Rossi said that the earrings she got back were fake.
2018, indicted on drug and terroristic threats charges
Last October, a grand jury in Union County indicted the Linden resident on making terroristic threats, and two counts of possession of a controlled substance – one for cocaine the other for methamphetamine.
Body camera footage from the night of the May incident shows Dykstra and the Uber driver were scared of the other.
The argument started after Dykstra requested a change in his destination, and the driver refused, police have said.
According to the driver, Brian Lutty, 47, of Roselle, the ex-major league player then allegedly pulled out a weapon, pointed it at his head and threatened to kill him. He drove to Linden police headquarters instead.
AP2019: ‘We are afraid,’ his neighbor says
It all started when Dykstra moved in, says his neighbor Linda Graham on a quiet Linden street.
“There’s been two overdoses. There’s been a scuffle on the front lawn. There’s been people who are here today, gone tomorrow. We don’t know who these people are and we are afraid.”
Neighbors on Stockton Circle in Linden say they live in fear of the transients they claim come and go from Dykstra’s home. They also allege that he converted his home into an illegal rooming house.
They want him out and have appealed to the town for help.
“People are constantly moving in and out,” said City Councilwoman Gretchen Hickey. “(His neighbors) have no quality of life whatsoever. They live in fear.”