By Lynda Jones
Montaous Walton, a young African American man who falsely claimed to be a future baseball big leaguer was arrested this week for continuing to pose as a professional baseball hopeful. Claiming to be a future big league athlete was not the crime alone, it was accepting money from agents who believed his claim, and thought that they were investing in his career.
Walton according to the complaint filed by the Milwaukee County district attorney’s office, deceived two sports agents into believing he was a professional baseball player signed with the Toronto Blue Jays and illegally solicited nearly $6,000 worth of property from the agents.
Walton, 28 years-old according to the complaint has been at this for quite awhile. He has been touting his false story for several years now. His story first came to The Milwaukee Courier back in Feb. 2010 with free-lance sports writer Frederick Dakarai. Dakarai researched his story, and found that other newspapers had written about Walton and his big league future.
Following the article printed on Feb. 6, 2010, an out of state sports agent contacted several news outlets, including The Milwaukee Courier and shared that he had discovered that most of Walton’s claims were false, including his age. The Milwaukee Courier wrote an article on June 26, 2010 entitled, ‘Setting the record straight on “bogus” future big leaguer’. None of the other news outlets followed up with any type of retraction including WTMJ Channel 4, who aired a news brief on March 7, 2010 entitled, “Big League Dreams”, featuring Walton speaking again about his baseball achievements.
What is most interesting as this latest chapter of Walton’s saga develops, some mainstream news outlets are quick to point fingers at how local media was “duped” by this young man’s story but fail to hold their own accountability. Specifically, WTMJ 620 radio talk show host, Charlie Sykes, who berated The Milwaukee Community Journal and The Milwaukee Courier for, as he put it, being “duped” by Walton’s story, but left out the fact that they had been (in his words) “duped” as well. Had he done his homework, he would have read the retracted article of June 2010.
Since the retraction, The Courier has been contacted too many times to count, regarding Walton’s story Many writers, and prospective agents who did perform their homework called and asked our offices about the article, the first one and the second one. It is obvious that these agents who gave him money failed to do that.
Following the retracted article on Walton, he contacted the paper and he apologized for his false claims, and promised to stop. He also pleaded that we take the article off of our website, which has a direct connection to google. Therefore, if anyone performs a google search on Walton, our articles (both) will come up. We did not remove either article. I have been asked several times by callers what I thought his problem was, I did not have an answer and still don’t. I can say that I personally gave Walton a warning based on what a lawyer had shared with me. I told him that accepting or soliciting money based on these false claims would be a crime. I hoped that he would listen, but now the courts will decide. Walton has entered a not guilty plea, and he was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing on June 21, 2012.