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Police report: Major League Baseball knowingly bought stolen documents

May 12, 2014, 7:29 AM EDT

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig speaks during a news conference in New York

The Boca Raton police say that Major League Baseball ignored repeated warnings that the records they sought in the Alex Rodriguez Biogenesis investigation had been stolen and that they were not to purchase them. They did it anyway. And that even though no MLB investigators were ultimately charged in the theft, there is “evidence of involvement” by MLB investigators in the theft of the documents. All of this is detailed in the police report obtained by Newsday and published last night.

We’ve known the broad strokes of all of this for some time: Former Biogenesis employee Porter Fischer had a fallout with Anthony Bosch. Fischer then obtained the documents which fueled the original Biogenesis news in the Miami New Times and upon which Major League Baseball relied to get evidence against Alex Rodriguez. However, Fischer stopped cooperating with MLB before they could get the documents from him. Then the documents were stolen from Fischer. Then Major League Baseball got the documents from someone else.

That someone else is a man named Gary Jones, who sold MLB the documents. Jones’ good friend is a man named Reginald St. Fleur, who was ultimately arrested for the break-in of Fischer’s car. You don’t have to be a genius to see what happened here: MLB knew the documents it was buying from Jones were the same ones stolen from Fischer. Sure, Major League Baseball has repeatedly denied that, but the Boca Raton police don’t buy that at all:

Major League Baseball ignored repeated warnings that records they sought in the Alex Rodriguez Biogenesis scandal had been stolen and that they were not to purchase them, according to Florida investigators and an April police report obtained by Newsday . . . Det. Terrence Payne wrote in his report that there was also “evidence of involvement” by “several MLB investigators” and three other men — two brothers from Long Island and a felon whom MLB paid $125,000 in exchange for the stolen records.

MLB continues as of Friday to deny any knowledge that the documents they purchased were stolen. This despite the fact that (a) they recently fired the investigators involved in all of this; and (b) despite being warned by police beforehand that the documents were stolen:

Sandra Boonenberg, a spokeswoman for the Boca Raton Police Department, stated unequivocally that a Florida investigator “warned MLB not to purchase the documents” and that the investigator told their detective about that conversation “before the documents were purchased” by MLB.

I have no doubt that sportswriters, fans and various major league players will come forward and claim that they don’t care about any of this and that it was worth getting Alex Rodriguez at any cost. The irony of this, of course, is that in doing so they are essentially endorsing criminal conduct by Major League Baseball employees as a means punishing A-Rod for crossing an ethical line.

Personally: I find a guy possibly getting away with taking some testosterone and HGH against company rules to be less of a problem than a felony. Maybe that’s just me being a crazy, cheater-loving apologist again. Maybe that’s just me being a contrarian and looking for any excuse to lay into sportswriters and other people who disagree with me on this stuff.

But maybe it’s also possible that MLB was the worse actor than A-Rod here and their pursuit of him was literally criminally overzealous. Maybe, rather than arguing, as so many have, that Bud Selig’s suspension of Alex Rodriguez was a vindication of MLB’s anti-drug policies, it should be acknowledged that it was pretty disgraceful.

  1. jfk69 - May 12, 2014 at 7:41 AM

    The arrogance of Bud Selig still astounds me.
    Two wrongs don’t make a right
    Arod meet your celly Bud meet Arod

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 12, 2014 at 10:26 AM

      Except ARod didn’t commit a crime; he broke the rules of the private company he works for. Bud & Co. committed a felony. So while ARod is forced to sun himself as he gets a one-year paid vacation (albeit it at a reduced salary) Bud by any sane measure should be looking at someone in his employ facing jail time.

      • jeffbbf - May 12, 2014 at 1:18 PM

        steroids are illegal unless prescribed by a physician

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 12, 2014 at 1:50 PM

        “Steroids” is frequently a generic term used to describe any “performance enhancing” drug or substance. I don’t know what ARod was taking, or if Bosch had a doctor prescribing it.

      • ilovegspot - May 12, 2014 at 2:44 PM

        He is not being paid for his year off.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 13, 2014 at 10:11 AM

        I believe he received something like $3MM this season from the Yankees. A far cry from the $30MM or whatever he was supposed to make, but still probably more than I will make in my lifetime.

      • Kevin S. - May 12, 2014 at 2:49 PM

        Actually he is making about $3 million. It has to do with differences between the pay calendar and the suspension calendar.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 13, 2014 at 10:12 AM

        /\ /\ What he said…

  2. phillyguyindc - May 12, 2014 at 7:50 AM

    If the player involved was anyone other than A-Rod, who seems to be public enemy number 1, there might have been much more public support against MLB’s shady dealings.

    • jfk69 - May 12, 2014 at 8:48 AM

      It is a felony. What you are advocating is.. It is ok to commit a crime so long as it is against someone we don’t like or need to get. In other words. Take the law into your own hands, Glad I am not your neighbor.

      • Kevin S. - May 12, 2014 at 9:23 AM

        I think you’re missing his point. He doesn’t seem to be condoning MLB’s actions, just stating the reality that many were okay with it because A-Rod is History’s Greatest Monster (TM) and they really really wanted to get him.

      • jfk69 - May 12, 2014 at 9:48 AM

        The bigger problem these days is we have replaced the court of law with the new court of public opinion aka social media.
        We now vote on these matters based on more often than not who we like more and which way the herd has voted.

      • Old Gator - May 12, 2014 at 10:15 AM

        Kevin – for future reference, go into MS Word, click the “inserts” tab and then on the right click “symbols.” Scroll to ™, click on it to paste it into your word.doc, hilite it and right click to “copy,” then paste it into your message here. You get the same nifty superscript TM (or anything else in the symbol library in Word) I uses for my horrible horsemeat and Velveeta™ sandwiches during those irregular moments when the Feelies are relevant.

      • phillyguyindc - May 12, 2014 at 11:03 AM

        JFK- I think you missed my point but it looks like Kevin clarified it. Buying stolen documents and filing lawsuits in exhange for testimony is about as modern day mafia-like as it can get. This should have drawn a backlash but nobody seemed to care because A-Rod was on the wrong end of it instead of a more beloved character.

      • drewsylvania - May 12, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        “Nobody cares” about what MLB did because most writers won’t write about it, for fear of backlash from the MLB power structure.

        This whole thing is yet another example of power corruption.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 12, 2014 at 10:29 AM

      Which is exactly the problem. Now Bud has set the precedent that he can kick out whoever he wants for arbitrary periods of time and nobody, including the MLBPA, will complain. The next time, people may not like it as much, but it will be more difficult to oppose him because everyone let this one slide.

      • drewsylvania - May 12, 2014 at 2:27 PM

        Remember how much everyone complained when Bud arbitrarily changed baseball’s rules to prevent Melky from winning the batting title?

        I don’t, either.

  3. tbutler704 - May 12, 2014 at 7:54 AM

    “The Boca Raton police say…..” Hahahaha. Maybe they should stick to chasing punks stealing old ladies purses.

    • Old Gator - May 12, 2014 at 10:16 AM

      There are no old ladies roaming the streets in Boca. They are either turfed to St. Petersburg, incarcerated at Century Village, taken away for re-grooving or processed into Soylent Green during periods when major outbreaks of inclement weather in the midwest drive up the price of oatmeal.

  4. bobwsc - May 12, 2014 at 8:06 AM

    “Personally: I find a guy possibly getting away with taking some testosterone and HGH against company rules to be less of a problem than a felony.”

    isn’t obtaining/buying steroids illegally a felony, Craig? same as if he tested positive for cocaine – buying the drug is against the law.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - May 12, 2014 at 8:19 AM

      isn’t obtaining/buying steroids illegally a felony, Craig? same as if he tested positive for cocaine – buying the drug is against the law.

      Know what else is against the law, driving while drunk (La Russa), using cocaine (Washington), beating your wife (Cox) but MLB didnt care about those. Arod’s purchase of PEDs is against the law, so let the law handle it.

    • paperlions - May 12, 2014 at 8:19 AM

      And?

      The point isn’t that players obtaining and using PEDs is okay, the point is that ignoring the law in an attempt to punish your own employees for company rules (not laws of the state) is also not okay and not something that should be supported or applauded by anyone.

    • rbj1 - May 12, 2014 at 9:54 AM

      It may simply be a misdemeanor. And if you believe someone is enabled by the law to prescribe steroids, possibly even not that. Did A-Rod violate the rules of his employment? Most likely yes. but that’s far less than knowingly purchasing stolen property. A-Rod is a steroids cheater, Bud Selig is a criminal. Which is worse?

    • dluxxx - May 12, 2014 at 10:01 AM

      It’s not a felony to purchase drugs unless you’re buying in bulk with the intent to distribute. His purchases were probably a misdemeanor at worst. So you’re saying that it’s okay to commit a felony to catch a misdemeanor? That’s pretty silly…

      The ends don’t justify the means.

      • clydeserra - May 12, 2014 at 2:27 PM

        this isn’t true. Please don’t take it as legal advise.

      • dluxxx - May 12, 2014 at 3:11 PM

        Okay, maybe not exactly legal advice, but just last season Chris Perez was busted for having a third of a pound of weed mailed to him. It was a misdemeanor charge and he was fined $250, given a year of probation and was given community service. I mean, we’re talking about 1/3 pound of weed. That’s some quantity right there.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 12, 2014 at 10:34 AM

      Depends on the PEDs. Some things that are banned by MLB are perfectly legal for you and me. Some require a prescription, some don’t. I am not sure about everything ARod was taking so I don’t know where it falls in this spectrum.

      I also know that knowingly buying stolen property is always a crime. And frankly I do not believe for one second that MLB was innocent in the theft itself. There is a fine line between buying stolen property and offering someone money to steal property, but it is a pretty important line.

    • lukedunphysscienceproject - May 12, 2014 at 2:47 PM

      How do you know he was buying them illegally? Baseball has never claimed this. He very well may have had a prescription for drugs that are nonetheless banned by the league. The very reason athletes get involved with outfits like Biogenesis is to obtain prescriptions for PEDs. The drugs are not illegal, just banned by baseball.

  5. thebadguyswon - May 12, 2014 at 8:12 AM

    I’ve rooted for Arod all along. And this is why. MLB is the bigger scumbag in this entire saga. Bud Selig is just another white collar criminal, just like his buddy Fred Wilpon.

  6. Kevin S. - May 12, 2014 at 8:19 AM

    BUTT AROD TRIED TOO BYE THEM TWO!!!!1!1!

    • Old Gator - May 12, 2014 at 10:18 AM

      Posting from your smartphone does this to your grasp of the language.

      • raysfan1 - May 12, 2014 at 1:04 PM

        I think that’s his sarcasm font, OG.

      • Old Gator - May 12, 2014 at 2:38 PM

        I think that was mine, too.

    • cebig - May 12, 2014 at 10:19 AM

      I don’t want to question your education level, but……. Yeah never mind.

      • Kevin S. - May 12, 2014 at 10:46 AM

        I don’t want to question your sarcasm detector, but… Yeah, never mind.

    • paperlions - May 12, 2014 at 10:55 AM

      It was sarcasm people.

      For future reference, please note that “!!!!1!1!” = the prior statement was 100% sarcasm.

  7. trbmb - May 12, 2014 at 8:23 AM

    Selig looking as he always does, budfuddled. I predict he will have this exact same look when he’s ‘elected’ to the Hall Of Fame, only minutes after he retires. His plaque will be placed right next to another equally deserving legend, Bowie Kuhn.

  8. hittfamily - May 12, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    Craig, you are just mad because NBC wouldn’t buy the documents you stole out of Florio’s car.

  9. mcsnide - May 12, 2014 at 8:57 AM

    Craig,

    I started reading Shysterball before you moved it to Hardball Times. I don’t comment much any more, but pieces like this are exactly why I’ve never stopped reading. Any theories why no one from MLB was charged? Clearly, they received stolen property and never returned it, so it seems to a non-lawyer that there should have been SOMETHING they could have been charged with.

    • Craig Calcaterra - May 12, 2014 at 9:18 AM

      1. Thanks!

      2. Such judgments (to charge or not to charge) are made all the time. Making a case that, say, MLB encouraged or participated in the theft would be really, really hard I’m sure (and of course may not have happened) and making a case for simple receiving stolen property may not be something Boca wants to pursue for any number of reasons.

      • mcsnide - May 12, 2014 at 9:39 AM

        Thanks. That makes sense.

        I suppose, in a perverse sort of way, MLB’s sheer size and willingness to litigate help to shield it from charges – why spend the resources and effort to fight Goliath over a small charge?

      • Old Gator - May 12, 2014 at 10:20 AM

        Because when Goliath drops on his face with that pebble lodged between his eyes, it is the greatest damned rush you will ever experience, David.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 12, 2014 at 11:41 AM

        It’s all about the money. I’m sure Florida doesn’t want to piss off MLB with Arizona already looking so good for spring training. As usual, money trumps ethics, law or just about any other philosophical position.

      • mcsnide - May 12, 2014 at 12:11 PM

        OG,

        I’m with you there. I’ve got an order in for Taibbi’s latest book, in which he discusses the legal system’s treatment of those with money and resources and those without (spoiler: justice ain’t blind). Systemically, we’ve got a huge problem with shielding Goliath.

        Sabathia,

        The cynic in me agrees with you, but I really, really hope you’re wrong and it’s just a matter of limited resources.

  10. happytwinsfan - May 12, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    If I park my car next to a fire hydrant, and as I’m about to get out go into the store a cop tells me that it’s illegal to park next to a fire hydrant, but I wave him off and leave the car there anyways, does the cop have to debate himself about whether or not to have my car towed? If the police told MLB that what they were considering doing was illegal, before they did it, and they did it anyway, then why haven’t any arrests been made?

    • Old Gator - May 12, 2014 at 10:20 AM

      Perhaps the cop doesn’t want your nearsighted pitbull pissing on his shoes.

      • happytwinsfan - May 12, 2014 at 10:51 AM

        Depends. Minneapolis cops work at a lot harder at keeping their shoes shined than the St Paul ones.

        No matter. My opinion on this is merely an adorably simplistic man on the street reaction that our legal community benevolently tolerates, understanding that it is inevitable to the weltanschaung of my socio-economic group and ethnic membership.

      • paperlions - May 12, 2014 at 10:59 AM

        Well, of course they do. In Minneapolis, you never know when Randy Moss might come by and give you a chance to be a hood ornament….you want to look your best if that happens.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - May 12, 2014 at 10:38 AM

      “No, you clearly don’t know who you’re talking to, so let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Boca. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets [arrested] and you think that of me? No. I am the one who knocks! ”

      Bud Selig, in his head, probably.

  11. brandotho - May 12, 2014 at 9:14 AM

    The inmates are running the asylum, and they have for a long time. Makes me sick that Bud Selig gets a pass for this and everything else he’s done.

  12. girardisbraces - May 12, 2014 at 9:30 AM

    Selig and MLB’s stance in this whole ARod debacle always struck me as Machiavellian. The last time I checked, we had a system of laws in this country. You want to dig up some dirt on someone, you do it above board, so as to avoid the public’s reproach. I think most of us questioned their motives anyway, but this just solidifies their ignominy alongside Rodriguez.

  13. bluesoxbaseball - May 12, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    It will be a great day for baseball when Bud Selig is gone from the game.

    • Old Gator - May 12, 2014 at 10:49 AM

      Yes it will, but what makes you think that whoever replaces him will be any better?

  14. bigharold - May 12, 2014 at 10:17 AM

    This is old news and absolutely nothing will come of it other than white noise from the sports’ worlds talking heads. As I and many others pointed out MLB’s actions in this soap opera are far more egregious than Arod’s.

    These actions were far worse than what got George Steinbrenner banned from baseball but who cares? As long as MLB got Arod. Neither Selig nor his likely successor Manfriedie will lose any sleep over the fact that under their direction MLB not only willingly and knowingly broke the law but also they demonstrated a complete lack of ethics or character. And, the rest of the players and union that thought it was ok, keep in mind that if they can do it to Arod they’ll have no problem doing it again.

    The irony; in his effort to excel Arod broke the rules and displayed poor judgement and character. In their effort to “get him” MLB managed to do the same thing on a far greater scale and in a more nefarious manner. Yet it’s Arod that will get a year off without pay while Selig and the rest of the ethically challenged at MLB are busy patting themselves on the back. And, still the ends do not justify the means.

  15. plmathfoto - May 12, 2014 at 10:49 AM

    So Craig in your “mind” ARod’s steroid and other ped use was legal? Maybe I don’t understand it correctly, but I’m pretty sure the stuff he used and the way he purchased it etc is illegal, which is a lot worse than “breaking some company that he works for rules”.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - May 12, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      Maybe I don’t understand it correctly,

      Correct, you are misinterpretting him. Here’s a quick breakdown of the article

      Arod did a bad thing
      MLB did a far worse thing

      The public, and sportswriters at large, care nothing about the latter, and only about the former. As evidenced in this comment:

    • paperlions - May 12, 2014 at 11:02 AM

      1) MLB is not responsible for enforcing the law.

      2) MLB did not buy the stolen documents with the goal of enforcing the law but to enforce company rules.

      3) ARod committed a misdemeanor, MLB committed a felony.

    • dluxxx - May 12, 2014 at 11:31 AM

      See the above comments. Committing a felony so you can punish someone who MAYBE committed a misdemeanor (if what he took is illegal) is not a good way to run a business. That’s like taking a sledge hammer to someone’s car because they gave you a little door ding in the parking lot.

      • plmathfoto - May 12, 2014 at 11:46 AM

        Ok here’s Craig’s direct quote: “Personally: I find a guy possibly getting away with taking some testosterone and HGH against company rules to be less of a problem than a felony.” He would take another reporter to task for using the analogy of someone doing something against company rules versus the real issue of all the illegalities involved to prove their point. Cmon now, this is a bit/a lot more than just breaking a companies rules as I previously stated.

      • dluxxx - May 12, 2014 at 11:55 AM

        Is testosterone an illegal drug? Is human growth hormone an illegal drug? They’re both perfectly legal for those who need them, and would not be considered a drug of abuse. Whether or not Biogenesis COULD legally prescribe them or not is a different story, but the drugs themselves are not illegal to use or prescribe to anyone in the US. So, his analogy is 100% accurate. He took a drug that isn’t illegal, but against company policy, and then MLB committed a felony to suspend him.

        Are you telling me you’re not seeing that?

      • plmathfoto - May 12, 2014 at 11:57 AM

        I’d suggest to you don’t drink any koolaid any one offers. Do you not get that he would rake another reporter over the coals if they tried something like that to prove their point? The guy did illegal stuff all over the place, which is not just breaking company rules.

      • dluxxx - May 12, 2014 at 12:02 PM

        Namely???

      • [citation needed] fka COPO - May 12, 2014 at 12:48 PM

        Cmon now, this is a bit/a lot more than just breaking a companies rules as I previously stated.

        Except it’s not, again you are mistaken.

        As dluxxx mentions, none of the products that Arod supposedly* took are illegal. They are illegal to receive without a doctor’s prescription. Taking the drugs is against MLB’s rules. MLB committed a felony, and they knew they were committing a felony because the police had warned them not to buy the documents.

        I’m confused as to how you think Arod’s actions were worse than what is being portrayed here?

        *put supposedly in here b/c I don’t think we ever got an official list of what he took, but needless to say it was PEDs

    • Kevin S. - May 12, 2014 at 12:18 PM

      Also, A-Rod’s crimes were relatively victimless and typically not prosecuted by the state (law enforcement cares much more about dealers than users).

  16. serbingood - May 12, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    Selig wanted to get ARod. The documents were in Florida. Selig is no Einstein. He simply misunderstood what Stand Your Ground laws mean in Florida. Selig stood his ground to get the documents – copies, not the originals, and missed the entire point of the law. Or did Selig and MLB just give the law a new meaning?

    Regardless, this entire story smells worse that a 6 week old fish or the in-laws staying that extra five weeks. The end the NOT justify the means.

  17. youknowwhatsgoodforshoulderpain - May 12, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    Can somebody PLEASE fire Selig now. That guy is 100% awful.

  18. righthandofjustice - May 12, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    MLB bought 2 sets of documents from Gary “Bobby” Jones. After they bought the first set, one of their investigators went to the police but MLB continued to buy the second set anyway.

    Interestingly, in Horowitz’s comment on the A-Rod arbitration, he wrote MLB said the second set of document they bought from Jones was not helpful in the investigation. Why did they repeatedly refuse to hand over documents to the government that wasn’t helpful to them? What exactly was the second set of document?

    This is more than PED investigation and robbery. The crime story has just begun. A LOT more information will come out when federal prosecutors take a deeper look into Tony Bosch and MLB.

  19. chip56 - May 12, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    Ultimately the point isn’t whether what MLB did was more wrong than what Alex did or the other way around. The point is that they are both rolling around in the dirt on this.

    To defend MLB a little – when you are trying to catch people for using illegal substances and you do not have the authority of a law enforcement agency you do have to take some “unique” roads. Personally I wish that the road MLB had taken led to the higher ground, but it didn’t. They wanted to get Rodriguez and the others and they did.

    For MLB this was a case of the ends justifying the means and now they have their own bill to pay. When all is said and done I think the government will exact their pound of flesh from the league just as the league did from Alex. Each party has to answer for what they did and, when they close the book on Bud Selig I do sincerely hope that as there have been players kept out of the Hall of Fame for steroid use or suspected steroid use, the Commissioner who oversaw that abuse is also kept out of the Hall of Fame.

    • [citation needed] fka COPO - May 12, 2014 at 1:46 PM

      Ultimately the point isn’t whether what MLB did was more wrong than what Alex did or the other way around. The point is that they are both rolling around in the dirt on this.

      My answer to him was, “John, when people thought the earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the earth was spherical, they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together.”
      -Isaac Asimov

  20. bh192012 - May 12, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Did the documents belong to Porter Fischer or Anthony Bosch?

  21. musketmaniac - May 12, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    1/3 of a lb of weed is not quantity,

  22. rohlo - May 12, 2014 at 5:42 PM

    expose selig’s arse!!! guy is a POS and hate him even more for forcing the astros to move to the american league sighting league was unbalanced..well hello bud you are the idiot that made it unbalanced by moving your brewers to the national league..you screw over a team with ro years of national league history just because they were up for sale and you forced the new owner to accept it or you would apporve his purchase of the team…. selig is a scumbag!!!!

    • rohlo - May 12, 2014 at 5:44 PM

      *typo 50 years of national league experience

  23. pressytodd - May 12, 2014 at 10:52 PM

    Selig the old used car salesman, should be banned for life to protect the integrity of the game. At least the ped users didn`t brake the law.

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