Alex Rodriguez Sues Major League Baseball Over Biogenesis "Witch Hunt"
UPDATE: In February 2014, Alex Rodriguez and his legal team voluntarily dropped the lawsuit against Major League Baseball, the Players Association, and Commissioner Bud Selig. Rodriguez also accepted his season-long suspension.
As Alex Rodriguez fights for his baseball-playing life in New York this week, he's forbidden from discussing the details of the case before an arbitrator who will decide whether Major League Baseball's 211-game ban will stand. But that didn't stop A-Rod from suing MLB last night over its investigation into Biogenesis, the Coral Gables clinic which was exposed in January by a New Times investigation as the source of performance enhancing drugs for pro athletes.
In new suit filed in New York, Rodriguez claims baseball engaged in a "witch hunt" to get him out of the sport. A-Rod lodges several explosive claims in the complaint, including that baseball officials paid $150,000 for documents stolen out of the car of Porter Fischer -- New Times' source for the Biogenesis stories -- and that MLB is paying clinic owner Tony Bosch $5 million to cooperate.
"Throughout at least all of 2013, (MLB has) been engaged in tortious and egregious conduct with one, and only one, goal: to improperly marshal evidence that they
hope to use to destroy the reputation and career of Alex Rodriguez, one of the most
accomplished Major League Baseball players of all time," A-Rod's attorneys write in their complaint.
The 33-page document lays out a laundry list of accusations against Bud Selig and his MLB investigators following New Times January story on Biogenesis.
MLB's investigators, lead by Dan Mullin, a former NYPD deputy chief, repeatedly conducted a "scorched earth investigation" including coercing and threatening witnesses to build a case against A-Rod and other ballplayers tied to the clinic, the attorneys claim.
That includes getting one witness booted out of his apartment when he refused to cooperate, offering hundreds of thousands of dollars to others and impersonating cops to get into apartment buildings.
The suit cites New Times follow-up story about Porter Fischer, the whistleblower who leaked documents from the clinic. Fischer says MLB offered him $125,000 to cooperate, a deal he turned down. Months after the story ran, Fischer's car was broken into outside a tanning salon in Boca and boxes of those documents were stolen.
According to A-Rod, MLB benefited from that break-in; Mullin later paid $150,000 for those documents, he says, handing the cash over in a bag inside a Fort Lauderdale restaurant.
That's not Mullin's only crime, he claims: The lead investigator also "engaged in an inappropriate sexual relationship with a witness" in the case, according to the suit.
A-Rod also targets MLB's handling of Bosch, who ran Biogenesis. The clinic owner agreed to cooperate after MLB filed a civil suit against him, with baseball promising to drop the suit in return; but according to Rodriguez, that's not the only benefit he's gotten for helping Selig go after the Yankees star.
MLB also agreed to pay Bosch $5 million and do everything it could to protect him from the federal and state criminal investigations that have opened into his clinic.
Rodriguez says in sum, MLB has cost him millions in salary and endorsements through its conduct.
Read the full complaint for yourself here:
Update: Both MLB and Bosch have responded to the suit, according to the New York Daily News, by denying A-Rod's allegations.
Bosch's spokeswoman denied that he's been paid $5 million to cooperate, while MLB sent this statement:
"This lawsuit is a clear violation of the confidentially provisions of our drug program and it is nothing more than a desperate attempt to circumvent the Collective Bargaining Agreement. While we vehemently deny the allegations in the complaint, none of those allegations is relevant to the real issue: whether Mr. Rodriguez violated the (JDA) by using and possessing numerous forms of prohibited (PEDs), including Testosterone and (HGH) over the course of multiple years and whether (A-Rod) violated the Basic Agreement by attempting to cover-up his violations of the Program by engaging in a course of conduct intended to obstruct and frustrate the Office of the Commissioner's investigation."