As more and more comes out about MLB's Biogenesis investigation, we're forced to conclude this whole thing is just an Elmore Leonard novel. After the arrest of a man accused of breaking into whistleblower Porter Fischer's car, here's where it now stands: MLB bought Biogenesis documents from a guy who got them from a guy who stole them from a guy who stole them from Biogenesis.
Boca Raton police announced the arrest of Reginald St. Fleur, a tanning salon worker with a criminal record. He's an occasional associate of both Fischer, the former Biogenesis employee, and Gary Jones, the man who sold the clinic records to MLB. The exact path of those documents, which MLB used to pressure a dozen players into copping pleas and amounts to the bulk of the evidence against Alex Rodriguez, isn't precisely known, but there are only two possibilities: a criminal conspiracy, or a different type of criminal conspiracy.
Here's what we know. MLB, through an investigator, had been unsuccessfully negotiating with Fischer to purchase the documents he took from Tony Bosch after a dispute over money. On March 25th, they were scheduled to be handed over to the Florida Department of Health for its investigation into Bosch and Biogenesis. On March 24th, Fischer met Jones at a Boca Raton tanning salon. While the two met, Fischer's car was broken into and the documents stolen. On April 16th, MLB purchased the documents from Jones for $25,000. (On top of an additional $100,000 for an earlier set of documents. Also, without the evidence, the health department's case against Bosch collapsed.)
DNA evidence from Fischer's car linked St. Fleur to the break-in. How did the records get from St. Fleur to Jones?
The first possibility is that Fischer, who was restrained by a court order from dealing with MLB, was in on the con. He agreed to a phony break-in so that the documents could be sold through Jones, his intermediary. This is what MLB reportedly believed, with a source telling Outside The Lines:
"And they kind of staged this whole break-in, because Porter Fischer couldn't sell the documents himself because [MLB had a court order preventing Fischer from selling, transferring or destroying the documents]," an MLB official told "Outside the Lines."
The second possibility is that Fischer was set up by Jones, who lured him to a meeting to take the documents and sell them to MLB himself. This is what Fischer claims.
"Let me ask, then, why would I have turned down their offer for $125,000 five days before [the car break-in]?" Fischer said. "I turned them down at every stage. So they want to say I gave this to [Jones]? And that is why I immediately called the cops? ... That is why I've been jumping up and down to the feds and the state government? That I knew the [guy] stole from my car? Really. That is baseball's theory? Go for it, dude. Prosecute me. And let's find every single accessory that was involved. I need to know. This is bullshit."
The case was closed by police, but only re-opened recently after Jones acknowledged in an affidavit supporting Alex Rodriguez's appeal that he had obtained property stolen from Fischer's car. Complicating everything is the fact that Jones's car was broken into at the same time as Fischer's, but Jones declined to file a police report.
Did MLB know what it was buying? It swears up and down it had no clue the documents were stolen, but the evidence doesn't back that up. Jones told Outside The Lines that MLB was very clear on the source of the documents, and said "of course" he had told investigators they were stolen. Additionally, police records indicate that an MLB investigator contacted Boca Raton police about the break-in, four days before MLB purchased the documents from Jones.
No one's played fair here. Rodriguez's legal team, too, has paid witnesses for evidence and cooperation. But the deeper this caper goes, the more it looks like MLB may actually have interfered with criminal and state investigations, just to nail a few PED users. Not a good look. But maybe a great South Florida crime novel someday.