By Harry Keaney
One night last month, as the Yankees vs Mets Subway Series was in full swing, a neatly-dressed, tall, slender man, possibly in his mid-fifties, stepped into a bar in Maspeth, Queens. He sat down at the counter and ordered a drink.
After a while, he asked the barman if he could sell some tickets for a benefit for "a four-year old boy with leukemia." The barman agreed. He even bought a ticket himself for $20. And then, as he often does when he buys such tickets, he threw the stub in a garbage can.
The ticket stated that the benefit was for a "Sean Tracy" and would take place on Feb. 7 next in The Copper Still, in Pelham, N.Y. It listed the prizes as $2000, $1000 and $500.
But the barman, who asked that his name and that of the premises where he works not be used, felt something was amiss.
""I didn’t feel it was right and I went back and took the stub out of the garbage," he said.
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As the night wore on and the barman talked more with the ticket-seller, he became even more suspicious. The seller didn’t seem to be particularly eager to sell tickets to as many people as possible in the bar, as other ticket sellers normally are once they are given permission.
"This guy was picking and choosing who he would sell to," said the barman. "Normally, people sell to everyone to make as much money as they can."
The ticket-seller said the benefit would be on a Sunday night when, in fact, Feb. 7, 2001, is on a Wednesday.
The man said he sold medical insurance but he didn’t have a business card.
As for the Copper Still, in Pelham, in Westchester County, nobody knows about a benefit on Feb. 7 next for "Sean Tracy."
"I am hoping that the money is going to someone with leukemia and that this is genuine but no arrangements have been made with the bar," Eileen Healy, co-owner of the Copper Still told the Echo. "I do not want people conned if this guy is pocketing the money," she added.
Said Jack Langton, a barman in the Copper Still, "We checked and there is no benefit planned."