Biogenesis Scandal: MLB Fires Investigators Who Led South Florida Steroid Probe

There's no doubt that Major League Baseball's Department of Investigations accomplished exactly what Commissioner Bud Selig sent it to South Florida to do. After Miami New Times revealed that a local clinic called Biogenesis was selling performance-enhancing drugs to a host of baseball stars, the investigators were tasked with collecting the evidence to suspend them. Within six months, they had delivered, and Selig had handed down a record round of suspensions, including 211 games for Alex Rodriguez.

But to gather that evidence, the investigators played dirty. They paid cash in the back of SUVs. They threatened witnesses. They bought evidence stolen in a daylight parking lot robbery. The team's leader even had a sexual relationship with a potential witness.

Now, the other shoe has dropped. MLB execs announced this afternoon that they've cleaned house, firing most of the top investigators.

See also: Tony Bosch and Biogenesis: MLB Steroid Scandal

"After the Biogenesis investigation, we made a decision that certain structural changes were necessary in order to have a more efficient and effective investigative unit," MLB's chief operating officer, Robert Manfred, tells the New York Times. "Once we made structural changes, it resulted in the elimination of some positions."

Among those getting the ax are the unit's head, Dan Mullin; his deputy, George Hanna; and senior investigator Ed Dominguez.

In our second in-depth story on the clinic and its fallout, New Times was the first to air allegations of misconduct by the investigators. The piece revealed former Biogenesis employee Porter Fischer as the whistleblower who'd leaked the clinic's records and included his allegations that Mullin's team had alternately threatened him with legal action and offered thousands of dollars to cooperate.

Fischer also detailed how boxes of records were stolen from the back of his car while he was attempting to take them to state investigators. Mullin's team later purchased those records.

Those claims of misconduct would later be echoed by several other former Biogenesis employees in Alex Rodriguez's lawsuit against MLB. Rodriguez paid $100,000 to one former employee, a nurse named Loraine Delgadillo, who provided texts showing that Mullin had started a sexual relationship with her during the investigation.

In the end, the allegations against Mullin and his team weren't enough to help A-Rod. An arbitrator upheld his suspension and ruled that the claims -- including Mullin's affair with Delgadillo -- didn't unduly affect the case.

But they did expose Selig and his league to plenty of unnecessary bad ink in the tabloids at the height of A-Rod mania, which is the underlying reason behind today's action.

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink

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