A week ago we published some not very nice things about superagent Dan Lozano, but not before we were threatened with a lawsuit. Hours before publishing, Lozano's attorney issued itemized denials of a handful of facts we included in our story—and denials of many more that we did not.
We'll get to that, yes we will, but let's catch up on some of the fallout over the holiday weekend:
• We received another anonymous package regarding Lozano. Among other things, it contained a scan of Lozano's 2007 DUI mug shot (above), and purported email correspondence between Lozano and two women working as escorts.
"You are beautiful...what is your donation anyways?" was one message sent in early 2010 from an AOL email address we confirmed to be Lozano's to "firstname.lastname@example.org" (a dead email address.) It includes a phone number that we confirmed to be Dan Lozano's personal cell phone. "Is that for GFE?"
We reached out to a second woman whose email correspondance was included, Amber Brooks. Brooks, a "XXX Huge Boob Model," wrote back with a curt denial that she had ever met Lozano, said that the email address was an old one, and asked how we got it.
Interestingly, the language used in the latest mailing makes it sound like the sender was unaware we were even working on a Lozano story—meaning that whoever it is, it's not one of the people willing to dish on him last week.
• The St. Louis Post-Dispatch briefly reached Pujols in Hawaii, where he was vacationing with his family. Pujols insisted that he has no plans to change representation.
"I am absolutely staying with Danny as my agent," Pujols said. "And he will continue to negotiate my free agent contract. I am embarrassed for the people who are behind this. I want to make sure that people hear that."
• The free agent market for Pujols has not heated up the way some expected, with only the Cardinals, Cubs and Marlins even talking to Lozano. (And the Marlins, who lowballed with a sub-$200 million offer, are reported to have their hearts set on Jose Reyes.)
• According to a source close to the Yankees, Alex Rodriguez was told by the team to "keep [his] head down" amid concerns he was talking too openly about his financial involvement with Lozano's agency.
• Late last Wednesday, the day after we published our story, Dan Lozano's lawyer sent out a statement. The full text, from attorney Martin Singer:
The hatchet job published by Deadspin about Dan Lozano is an absurd concoction of outrageous false and defamatory lies and complete fabrications. It is based on unsubstantiated information sent to Deadspin in an unmarked envelope from an unknown, unidentified, anonymous source. Conspicuously absent from the story are any individuals who are willing to go on record to substantiate these absolute lies.
It is obvious that this story is based on false rumors provided by my client's rivals and competitors, who have lost substantial business to my client.
The cowards behind this malicious smear campaign should think twice if they believe they will be able to remain anonymous in litigation.
In his cover letter for that statement, Singer writes that "our office contacted [Deadspin] in writing and provided them with information confirming that the story was false." That's not quite what happened.
On Monday the 21st, the day before we published, Lozano's attorney contacted the Gawker legal department. Lozano had gotten wind that we were working on a story on him, and he had some idea of its contents, as indicated by his defensive comments in that September USA Today interview. Lozano's attorney demanded that we send him a copy of our unpublished story, something no reputable news outlet (or Deadspin) would ever do. Despite repeated requests from both our lawyer and myself, Lozano declined to make himself available for comment and to respond directly to the exact claims about him.
Instead, we compromised: We faxed Martin Singer a copy of the anonymous package we had originally received. We were amenable to this because we did not rely solely on the contents of that mailing for our story—there are a number of things in there that we weren't able to verify, so we did not report them. Additionally, our reporting led to sources and documents not mentioned in the package.
The next day, hours before publishing and after further attempts to reach Lozano for comment, we received a lengthy letter from Martin Singer. (You can find it below.) The point-by-point denials are the entirety of the "information confirming that the story was false" that Singer referred to in his statement on Wednesday.
As we said, not all of the claims refuted are claims we actually published. Here are a few of the things we never said Dan Lozano did, but Lozano's lawyer wants to really make sure you know he didn't do:
The extraordinarily damaging assertion that my client was supposedly investigated by the MLB Union for allegedly being connected to a prostitute supplying ring is a blatant lie. My client has never been investigated by the MLB Union for any reason whatsoever.
The anonymous materials received by Gawker outrageously assert that supposedly Mr. "Lozano wants part ownership of the Cardinals property/franchise" as part of the negotiations for his client Albert Pujols. This is a blatant lie.
The story in the "package" also claims that my client has "property he owned with players in Florida through a company named Icon 450." This is another demonstrable lie.
The charities where my client serves an officer of for Jimmy Rollins and Albert Pujols are not being used by my client for any personal benefits whatsoever. The assertion to the contrary is a false and absolute defamatory accusation.
The assertion by the unknown, anonymous source that my client supposedly has financial problems and a "sweet heart deal" with a bank, and the smear suggesting that he has a "deep" relationship with "the female VP at the bank, who approved the loans" is another vicious lie.
My client does not work with "Gus" or "Gee" for any investing of any kind. This is a complete fabrication without an iota of truth to it.
Also completely false is the claim that my cleint dated the former wife of a deceased Mexican drug cartel leader. This never occurred.
My client does not work with Gene Mato and Dominic Torres.
There is no fraudulent UCC filing or fraudulent addresses used.
Got that? Dan Lozano didn't do any of the stuff that no one had mentioned publicly until his lawyer did.