TAMPA — Former Tampa Bay Rays player Elijah Dukes was ordered Wednesday to pay $40,643 in overdue child support and alimony or face 90 days in jail.
Hillsborough Circuit Judge Mark Wolfe held Dukes in willful civil contempt for failing to make the court-ordered payments to his estranged wife, NiShea Gilbert. The judge sentenced the ballplayer to 90 days in jail.
But Dukes, who now plays for the Washington Nationals, can avoid time behind bars if he pays Gilbert the full amount she is owed by 5 p.m. Jan. 23.
If he doesn't pay by then, he must report to jail.
According to the court order, Dukes, 24, earned about $394,000 last year.
He has three children with Gilbert, who is divorcing him and has accused him in the past of threatening the lives of her and their children. He is required to pay $3,227 a month in child support for the older two children and $3,300 a month for alimony.
He isn't yet required to pay child support for the youngest, born in August. Gilbert's attorneys said they plan to seek it.
Dukes' attorney and a Nationals team spokesman did not return calls for comment.
Colleen Jenkins can be reached at email@example.com or (813) 226-3337.