Faced with baseball’s longest doping suspension, Alex Rodriguez sued Major League Baseball late Thursday, accusing it of buying the cooperation of Anthony Bosch, the head of an anti-aging clinic at the center of a doping scandal, as part of a continuing “witch hunt” to force him out of the sport.
In the complaint, Rodriguez’s lawyers claim an investigator paid $150,000 in cash for records related to Rodriguez, which were apparently stolen. A portion of the cash “was handed off in a bag at a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., area restaurant,” the lawsuit says.
Watch: A-Rod suing Major League Baseball
The lawsuit specifically accuses Major League Baseball of engaging in “tortious interference,” essentially interfering with Rodriguez’s existing contracts and future business relationships.
The suit, in state Supreme Court in Manhattan, came just days after Rodriguez’s lawyers began appealing the 211-game ban issued by Major League Baseball. It is unclear if the suit will affect the arbitration hearing, which is taking place behind closed doors.
The suit does not address whether Rodriguez used banned substances. Major League Baseball did not immediately comment on the lawsuit.
The allegations laid out in the court papers represent the latest twist in a public and increasingly contentious battle that has pitted Rodriguez, one of the best players of his generation, against baseball officials, as well as the Yankees, his employer.
In August, a lawyer for Rodriguez, in an interview with The New York Times, disparaged the tactics of baseball investigators working the case and claimed that the Yankees hid from Rodriguez the extent of an injury he sustained last season. The lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, repeated the claims in a number of interviews, including one on NBC’s Today.
The Yankees and baseball officials have repeatedly rejected claims that they have conspired to sideline Rodriguez and keep him from cashing in on the final years of his $275-million contract.
Among the allegations, Rodriguez’s lawyers wrote that Major League Baseball had paid Bosch, the head of the now-closed Biogenesis clinic in Coral Gables, Fla., a total of $5-million in monthly installments “to buy his cooperation,” citing “at least one individual who claims to have knowledge of Mr. Bosch’s deal.” The lawyers said that baseball also promised to provide security for Bosch, cover his legal bills and indemnify him from civil liability stemming from the case.
Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball, was named as a defendant in the suit, but the Yankees, who owe Rodriguez $86-million after this season, were not, nor were any of the team’s officers.
A spokeswoman for the court confirmed receipt of the suit.
The suit was authored by lawyers from three firms: Reed Smith; Tacopina Seigel & Turano; and Gordon & Rees.