Crime

Steroid dealer Anthony Bosch accused of using Major League Baseball’s money for lavish spending

In this undated image taken from video and provided by 60 minutes, Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch, left, talks with 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley.
In this undated image taken from video and provided by 60 minutes, Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch, left, talks with 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley. AP

As star witnesses go, Anthony Bosch has not come cheap.

Major League Baseball has spent more than $4 million on his legal, security and public-relation expenses. And more bills are still due on behalf of the now-imprisoned fake doctor who snitched on 14 MLB players for banned steroid use — including New York Yankees slugger and onetime Miami-Dade high school standout Alex Rodriguez.

Federal court records show that Major League Baseball, which cut a deal with Bosch to settle a lawsuit to gain access to his patient records and insider knowledge, might have unwittingly paid for some of Bosch’s lavish living and other personal expenses.

That would be a potential violation of MLB’s agreements with the convicted former owner of the Biogenesis of America clinic in Coral Gables. Also, those contracts include no provision for Bosch’s publicity, which records show cost the league about $350,000.

Records filed in Bosch’s federal criminal case assert that two of his defense attorneys and his bodyguard “diverted” MLB’s money to him to pay for pricey hotels, such as a $19,000 tab at the Biltmore in Coral Gables. Among other expenses billed to the league: restaurants, nightclubs, strip joints, counseling for his cocaine addiction, overdue child support bills and personal loans, as well as condo leases in downtown Miami and exclusive Fisher Island.

A Miami attorney representing another defendant in the Biogenesis case disclosed canceled checks, lease agreements and other documents showing that MLB’s money was being secretly transferred through third parties to Bosch during 2013-14 as the steroid scandal unfolded. The attorney, Frank Quintero, maintains the league “bought” Bosch as a witness to secure his records and testimony — while suggesting that MLB overpaid for his cooperation.

Bosch’s two defense attorneys, Susy Ribero-Ayala and her husband, Julio Ayala, and bodyguard Bahlraj Badree issued statements. The Ayalas attacked Quintero personally, while Badree denied any diversion of MLB’s payments to Bosch.

In a statement provided to the Miami Herald this week, MLB officials denied that anyone violated Bosch’s contracts: “MLB has made inquiries into the matter and has been assured that no monies paid to service providers under MLB’s agreement with Mr. Bosch were diverted for his personal use.”

In February, a portion of the league’s payments surfaced in the court record after Quintero persuaded U.S. District Judge Cecilia Altonaga to order MLB officials as well Bosch’s lawyers and bodyguard to turn over invoices, payments and other subpoenaed records showing how much they were paid to assist him. The league immediately handed over the documents, but Ribero-Ayala and her husband as well as Badree held back some, provoking Quintero to seek sanctions. Eventually, the couple and bodyguard turned over the records following a nasty court fight.

Under a June 2013 contract, Major League Baseball agreed to pay “reasonable attorney’s fees” as well as $2,400 per day for security services over the course of one year to protect Bosch and his family from alleged “threats.” Also included: “travel expenses” deemed “reasonable” by MLB officials. The agreement was renewed for the lawyers — but made no mention of security or PR in March 2014.

In exchange for having his bills paid, Bosch had to turn over his Biogenesis patient records, including those of Rodriguez, the Yankees superstar, and testify at Rodriguez’s fall 2013 arbitration hearing. Rodriguez’s initial 211-game suspension was later reduced to 162 games, still an MLB record. League officials agreed to vouch for Bosch’s cooperation as the U.S. attorney’s office pursued unlawful steroid-distribution charges against Bosch and seven other defendants linked to his anti-aging clinic, Biogenesis.

As he strove to obtain documents, Quintero wrote in court papers that the Ayalas and Bosch’s bodyguard “made numerous and substantial payments for the benefit of Bosch that were wholly outside the terms agreed upon with MLB.” Through his own investigation, Quintero said, he also found “proof of the extent of the diversionary tactics undertaken by Bosch,” claiming Bosch was in cahoots with his two lawyers and security guard.

“The billing party would submit a vague invoice to MLB for payment, the invoice would contain generic description of services, such as ‘hotel expenses,’ ‘investigative services’ and ‘car services,’ without the submission of any substantiating proof” such as receipts, Quintero wrote.

They would use MLB’s payments, he said, “for the benefit of Bosch, such as paying for [his] child support payments, extravagant hotel stays totaling over tens of thousands of dollars, meals at fancy restaurants, tabs at night clubs and expenses at strip clubs.”

Quintero maintained that the league’s payments to the two lawyers and bodyguard were also diverted for condo leases in Bosch’s name on Fisher Island and his girlfriend’s name in downtown Miami. Leases filed in the court record show the Fisher Island condo was rented for one week at a cost of $6,000 and the condo at Ten Museum Park for $3,900 a month.

Quintero noted in court papers, citing an MLB letter and other documents, that the league paid more than $1.7 million in security bills to Badree and his company, Professional Protection — double the amount allowed under the league’s June 2013 agreement with Bosch.

Quintero disclosed a recent email in which Badree told the league’s general counsel that Bosch’s attorney, Ribero-Ayala, advised him to submit a revised invoice statement to MLB so he could get paid for past services — indicating, Quintero said, a cover-up.

“The statement needed to say that MLB never gave me or my company money to pay Tony Bosch’s personal expenses, etc.,” Badree wrote MLB lawyer Daniel Halem on Feb. 4 of this year. “I’m willing to provide such a statement to MLB. I just do not know what specifically, I need to include.”

Badree’s lawyer, Hector Flores, said his client never padded his expenses or siphoned off any MLB payments for Bosch. “Any suggestion that Raj Badree improperly billed Major League Baseball for his services is flat wrong,” Flores told the Miami Herald.

“In the email, Raj is simply telling Major League Baseball that he wants to be honest and fair with MLB and that he wants MLB to be honest and fair with him regarding outstanding invoices,” he added.

The league also paid about $1.3 million through July 2014 to lawyers Ribero-Ayala and her husband, Julio, longtime friends of Bosch and his family. (Another defense lawyer, Silvia Piñera-Vazquez, who represented Bosch at the MLB arbitration hearing for Rodriguez, was paid about $575,000 and his current defense attorney, Guy Lewis, was paid $285,000 through July 2014.)

When the Miami New Times broke the Biogenesis steroid story in January 2013, Ribero-Ayala tried to persuade Alex Rodriguez’s defense attorney, Roy Black, to have the Yankees ballplayer contribute $500,000 to Bosch’s defense. Rodriguez ended up paying Ribero-Ayala’s retainer fee of $25,000. At the time, Ribero-Ayala issued a public statement on behalf of Bosch, saying “the news report about a purported relationship between Alex Rodriguez and Anthony Bosch [is] not true” — which turned out to be a lie.

In a statement issued to the Herald for this story, Ribero-Ayala and her husband did not address questions about Quintero’s allegations that they diverted some of MLB’s payments to Bosch for his personal use.

Instead, the couple accused Quintero of using the “same failed tactics used by Alex Rodriguez and his lawyers by resorting to the media to discredit Anthony Bosch, his lawyers and Major League Baseball,” referring to the falling out in 2013 after Bosch agreed to cooperate with MLB.

“At the end of the day Bosch’s testimony proved to be truthful,” the Ayalas said in a statement. “Even Alex Rodriguez, after all, was forced to admit that everything Bosch testified to at the arbitration hearing was true and had to apologize for his own actions.”

The couple questioned why Quintero was trying to “hurt” Bosch, who in February started a four-year prison sentence, by attacking him, his lawyers and MLB officials. The Ayalas said Quintero should be focused on defending his client, prominent Miami-Dade baseball coach Lazaro “Lazer” Collazo, who plans to plead guilty on Monday to a reduced misdemeanor charge of steroid possession in the Biogenesis case.

In response, Quintero said it was his responsibility as a defense lawyer to attack Bosch — both MLB’s and the prosecution’s star witness. He also said the Ayalas have dodged tough questions about financially supporting Bosch with MLB’s payments by shifting the blame to him.

“The Ayalas once again seek to divert attention from the real issues by blaming me and my office for exposing through documentary evidence the improper conduct of the Ayalas, MLB, Badree and Bosch family members and friends in diverting monies to Bosch in violation of his contract with MLB,” Quintero said in a statement.

Quintero said the Ayalas have “diverted attention” away from the misconduct of Bosch and the others who “interfered” with state and federal criminal investigations and who “violated” Florida and U.S. privacy rights on disclosing medical records.

“And the list goes on,” said Quintero, who issued a challenge to the Ayalas, MLB and Badree to agree in writing to allow him to disclose all of the case’s financial records to the media. “Let the press decide who’s telling the truth.”

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