Craig Carton, co-host with Boomer Esiason of WFAN’s highly rated morning sports talk show, resigned from the station on Wednesday, a week after he was charged in an alleged multi-million dollar ticket resale scheme to pay off casino debts and repay earlier investors.
In a statement posted on Twitter, Carton cited concern that “the unfounded legal issues currently plaguing me” would become a distraction.
“For 10 years I’ve had the great privilege of showing up to work every day at my dream job,” Carton said in the statement. “I have nothing but love and respect for my co-host, the show and the entire CBS Radio family and I’ve always tried to represent them in the best possible light.
“Unfortunately, the unfounded legal issues currently plaguing me will only be a distraction to everyone at WFAN and the show I helped build.”
CBS Radio, which owns WFAN, said the search for a replacement would begin immediately.
Carton’s last show was Sept. 5. He was taken into custody the next morning at his Manhattan home.
He is accused of scamming more than $5 million from a hedge fund and other victims by falsely claiming he had access to blocks of tickets for artists ranging from Metallica to Barbra Streisand that he would resell at a profit.
Prosecutors said Carton, 48, and Michael Wright, of Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, face up to 45 years in prison on charges of conspiracy and securities and wire fraud. They alleged an unnamed third man called “CC-1” — identified in a Securities and Exchange Commission suit as Joseph Meli, of Manhattan — was also involved.
Carton had accrued millions in gambling debts to casinos and other individuals, the government said.
To help repay debts, the government said, Carton, Meli and Wright lured investors by lying and using forged agreements purporting to guarantee access to huge blocks of tickets from name-brand artists that could be sold at a significant profit, and then diverting their money.
A CBS Radio spokeswoman said WFAN had accepted Carton’s resignation and added, “We appreciate all of his contributions over the last decade and wish him and his family well during this next phase.”
Afternoon host Mike Francesa is scheduled to leave WFAN on Dec. 15. On Tuesday he said he would be open to the possibility of extending his stay to help the station, pending further discussions with the company.
In his statement, Carton thanked his listeners “for making me a part of their daily routine. I hope they can respect the fact that as much as I want to talk about the allegations against me I can’t at this time. There will come a time when I will be able to speak directly about the case and I hope our listeners will be there.”