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Ex-ballplayer Billy Bean, restaurateur Efrain Veiga call it quits

By JOAN FLEISCHMAN, jfleischman@MiamiHerald.com

bigFront Efrain Veiga, founder of Yuca restaurant and co-creator of Nuevo Latino cuisine, and partner Billy Bean, a former Major League Baseball player, have split after 13 years. ''Sometimes things don't work out,'' Veiga says. ``There's still love.''

Says Bean: ``It's a very difficult period, and we're both trying to get through it. I care deeply about him.''

Their Miami Beach home on North Bay Road is for sale -- for $1.595 million.

Veiga, 57, is renting a two-bedroom. He had a sad episode there on May 15: Federico Schostak, 26, died in the apartment. Schostak arrived ''for a sexual encounter'' at 4:30 a.m., and the two fell asleep next to one another, the police report says. At 10 a.m., Veiga tried to wake him and realized ''he wasn't breathing and had no pulse.'' Veiga called 911. Police found Schostak ``on the bed, completely undressed.''

Veiga told cops Schostak had been drinking from a bottle of Propel water -- and that Schostak claimed ''he had GHB in the bottle.'' Gamma hydroxybutyric acid is used as a recreational intoxicant and considered a ''date rape'' drug. ''A common club drug,'' says Miami Beach police Maj. John Bambis. ``It's illegal.''

The Miami-Dade medical examiner's office is awaiting toxicology studies before classifying Schostak's death.

Veiga says Schostak was from Brazil but lived on South Beach, and they'd met that morning. ``I really felt terrible.''

Bean, 44, is a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker. Veiga recently opened a personal chef and hospitality training business (www.efrainveiga.com).

To read a 2003 Miami Herald profile of Billy Bean by Steve Rothaus, click here.

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