A longtime Mets clubhouse manager has been suspended because of an investigation into his involvement with a mob-run sports gambling ring. Charlie Samuels, who started working for the Mets in 1976 and has been equipment manager since 1983, is accused of placing illicit wagers on various sporting events, including baseball. He is being investigated for providing inside information and tips for friends who also placed bets on games, and for using his Mets accounts to cover gambling debts.

According to an ESPN source, Samuels admitted to betting on baseball on at least one occasion. They also said that MLB believes the majority of Samuels bets were on football games and horse racing. One source described Samuels to the Daily News as a "spider who sat in the middle of a money web," a man who earned about $80,000 a year from the Mets but whose tax returns showed about $600,000 to $700,000 in income.

Samuels, 57, was suspended indefinitely without pay on Oct. 27, the Mets said yesterday—an internal probe that began in midseason revealed that he may have written checks on Mets accounts and cashed them out to cover his own bills, then later repaid the "loans" in a few weeks; he also is being investigated for possibly skimming money from hotel rooms he ordered for players. Yesterday, it was announced that the Mets are cutting ticket prices for the upcoming season, but still hadn't figure out a way to do-over Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS.