Lawsuit alleges significant MLB player agency provided players with PEDs

Juan Carlos Nunez, a former employee of the baseball player representation agency ACES, has filed a lawsuit against ACES heads Seth and Sam Levinson claiming they made under-the-table payments to players, and also directed clients to people who could provide performance-enhancing drugs, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports.

The lawsuit was filed in the New York State Supreme Court, and Nunez is seeking $2 million in unpaid commissions plus $500,000 for fees and expenses. Here are some more details, via Heyman:

The lawsuit, which claims ACES has been providing MLB players with PEDs for decades, purports to have a signed affidavit from Kirk Radomski, who pleaded guilty to two such charges and was a major player in MLB's Mitchell Report on PED usage a decade ago, and also goes into minute detail about the Levinsons' alleged involvement with convicted drug dealer Anthony Bosch of Biogenesis, and how Sam Levinson introduced (Melky) Cabrera, Nelson Cruz and other MLB players to Bosch and was aware that Bosch's regimen for the players contained HGH, testosterone and performance-enhancing "gummies."

The lawsuit, which also claims the Levinsons make "under-the-table" payments to clients, says the Levinsons' mantra was to do "whatever it took," even if it meant doing things in violation of the laws of the United States and the rules of MLB and the players union and that Nunez was "thrown under the bus to protect their own reputations" and made to take the fall for the harebrained schemes to try to fool MLB regarding Cabrera's failed test. Those schemes, memorably, included, devising a phony Website, which Nunez said was the idea of Seth Levinson, designed to fake out MLB into thinking Cabrera mistakenly took a PED after reading about it online rather than obtaining it from convicted drug dealer Anthony Bosch via Sam Levinson's introduction.

The suit purports to have an affidavit signed by Radomski, baseball's most famous past PED provider, saying he regularly provided ACES clients with PEDs, and lays out the explanation of the pickup and dropoff routine.

Nunez is most notable for his role in building a fake website after Cabrera tested positive for PEDs in 2012. The goal was to trick MLB into thinking Cabrera took a substance he read about online, not realizing it was a PED. Nunez was sentenced to three months in prison and house arrest for his role in the Biogenesis PED scandal.

Monday night, the Levinsons issued a statement to MLB Trade Rumors responding to the lawsuit:

"While we have not yet seen the complaint, Juan Nunez is a convicted felon who spent time in federal prison. He betrayed his family, the players who trusted him and the very people who gave him an opportunity at a great life and career. He was terminated almost six (6) years ago, in August of 2012, after his betrayals came to light. ACES has been thoroughly investigated, and at every turn, has fully cooperated.  The MLBPA exonerated us, all of the players cleared us, and it was conclusively proven that we did absolutely nothing wrong. This is nothing more than a shakedown by a man broken by his own criminal actions.  We will take the fight to Mr. Nunez for any meritless and defamatory claims, and we will seek all available remedies and damages that his criminal behavior has caused."  

At the time of the Biogenesis scandal, the Levinsons claimed Nunez was nothing more than a rogue employee. Nunez worked to help recruit Spanish-speaking players for ACES, among other things. Cabrera said at a press conference that Nunez persuaded him to take PEDs, and said Nunez provided him with banned substances.

A total of 14 players were suspended for their ties to Biogenesis back in 2013, 10 of whom were represented by ACES. The agency was investigated by MLBPA and later cleared of any wrongdoing. MLB has also investigated ACES, though the league generally defers to the union for agent-related matters. MLB declined comment about Nunez's lawsuit and it is unclear whether the league and/or the MLBPA will launch another investigation. 

 ACES is one of the largest player agencies in baseball. Their current roster of clients includes Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon, Indians righty Carlos Carrasco, Dodgers lefty Rich Hill, Cubs lefty Jon Lester, Nationals second baseman Daniel Murphy, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, and Mets third baseman David Wright, among many others.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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