Ex-Pitcher Claims MLB Wrecked His South Beach Sports Clinic
Past the space-age immersion chamber and the full-body scanner that can detect minute fat deposits, Neiman Nix's office is a testament to what happens when modern medicine falls short. The walls are hung with glossy photos of a fastball-hurling Nix in Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers uniforms, but the hulking, six-foot-eight Texan never made it to the bigs.
Nix rotates his arm to show why: Scars crisscross his elbow like tributaries on an aerial map. "I had nine surgeries right there," he says.
The way Nix tells it, that's why he got into his current business: DNA Sports Lab, a Miami Beach clinic that offers personal training, high-tech analysis, and a battery of "bio-identical human growth formula" — a scientific regimen to help athletes get bigger, faster, and healthier.
If you think that pitch sounds an awful lot like the business model of Biogenesis, the Coral Gables clinic that became the center of an historic scandal last year after New Times exposed its ties to selling performance-enhancing drugs to Major League Baseball stars, you wouldn't be alone.
In fact, according to Nix, the investigators MLB sent to South Florida to probe Biogenesis and its proprietor, Tony Bosch, became so obsessed with the idea that Nix was engaged in similarly shady behavior that they called all of his clients to warn them off and eventually got him banned from Facebook and PayPal.
But Nix swears he has done nothing wrong and is now suing MLB and three officials, claiming they wrecked his clinic and cost him millions in revenue. "It's unbelievable what they did to him," says Sholom Boyer, Nix's attorney. "It's the ultimate David versus Goliath."
MLB spokesman Pat Courtney declined to discuss Nix's suit except to say his office would have "no comment on what we regard to be baseless litigation."
Nix starred in high school in Kingman, Texas, and was drafted by the Reds in 1998, but the plethora of arm surgeries derailed his career. In his suit, Nix claims MLB's vendetta against him began in 2006, when he founded an academy called the American Baseball Institute.
The year-round camp grew until it occupied the former Philadelphia Phillies' spring training ground in Clearwater, Florida. But Nix says MLB was worried he gave draft picks another choice between minor-league ball or college, and soon began an internal investigation — alleging he was lying about scouts attending his camps — that eventually forced him to sell the company.
Nix moved on to DNA Sports Lab, which is based in a condo building near the corner of 25th Street and Collins Avenue. But when those same investigators headed to Miami to investigate Bosch and Biogenesis, the ex-pitcher claims they again zeroed in on him.
Unlike Bosch, though, Nix says he has never directly sold testosterone, HGH, or steroids — all of which require a doctor's prescription. Instead, he says his business focuses on "nutraceuticals," all-natural products that don't require a physician. The way he tells it, that didn't stop baseball's investigators from torpedoing his clinic's client base.
His suit names Dan Mullin and George Hanna, who were the heads of baseball's Department of Investigations during the Biogenesis case. Earlier this year, MLB fired the pair, whose investigation netted a record round of suspensions — including 211 games for Alex Rodriguez — but was sullied by claims they knowingly bought stolen records, lied to suspects, and, in Mullin's case, even had an affair with a witness.
MLB's attorneys have yet to respond to Nix's suit, which was filed in Miami-Dade court in February and alleges slander, tortious interference, and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other claims.
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