By Terrence McCoy
By Scott Fishman
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Allie Conti
By New Times Staff
By Ryan Pfeffer
By Deirdra Funcheon
By Kyle Swenson
Fischer took the text as "a fucking... lawyer-speak threat."
"No, thank you," he quickly texted Gonzalez back. "Not worth it."
MLB never seemed to grasp one key fact about Fischer: He didn't give a damn about their sport. In fact, other than A-Rod and Melky Cabrera, Fischer didn't even recognize a single ballplayer's name in Bosch's records until a New Times reporter began poring through them.
He had only one motivation: taking down Tony Bosch, the guy he says took his money and laughed in his face. That's why Fischer was so much more receptive when the Florida Department of Health (DOH) came calling.
The health department was a strange choice to investigate Bosch. Drug Enforcement Administration agents or local cops would have been more logical, but a well-placed source told New Times the feds initially refused to take the case.
Florida's DOH, by contrast, had a very narrow issue: If Bosch was practicing medicine or compounding drugs without a license, the department could charge him. In early April, Fischer met with a DOH agent named Jerome Hill.
Fischer immediately trusted Hill. The investigator wanted only to go after Bosch. "I agreed to cooperate completely," Fischer says.
The two began meeting regularly, and Hill — who repeatedly declined to talk to New Times about his investigation — began building a case against Bosch.
Fischer provided documents, including copies of medical reports that indicated Bosch had prescribed testosterone, human growth hormone (HGH), and anabolic steroids such as Anavar, Winstrol, and MIC. Fischer had even taken Bosch's lab coat from the office, a full-length white coat with "Dr. Tony Bosch" stitched over the pocket.
But the seemingly slam-dunk case soon hit roadblocks. The first came March 24, when Fischer, at Hill's request, traveled to the Ocala storage unit where he'd kept many of the boxes of medical files. When he stopped at the Boca Tanning Club in Boca Raton at 11:30 a.m., someone broke into his car and took the files, his laptop, and his .32 Beretta, according to a Boca police report.
"I told the police right away: This is important state's evidence that was taken," Fischer says. "They thought I was crazy."
A close-out memo from the Boca PD shows a detective talked to Hill about the case and noted the New York Times reported that both A-Rod and MLB officials were allegedly buying documents from clinic employees. Hill "did not think Fischer sold files to any players," the officer wrote. On March 20, they closed the case "pending DNA or new information."
Who took the boxes? It's still a mystery to Fischer.
"Whoever did this was a professional," he says. "They followed me for hours, waited for their one opportunity, and then struck."
Worse was yet to come. About a month later, the DOH abruptly closed its case and announced Bosch would receive a citation and a $5,000 fine but no criminal charges. "[We have] referred this matter to law enforcement," Ashley Carr, a department spokeswoman, said in a statement.
Why would the health department pass on a chance at such a high-profile criminal case? Bosch couched his business as an anti-aging clinic — which makes it part of a major industry in Florida. If regulators went after Bosch for improperly distributing HGH, how many others would they have to chase down?
Whatever the reason, Fischer is still baffled at prosecutors' lack of enthusiasm. "[They] completely blew this investigation, and I gave them everything on a silver platter," he says. "I blame the fucking bureaucrats."
When the story broke late on June 4, Fischer was livid: Citing two anonymous sources, ESPN reported Tony Bosch had reached an agreement with MLB to cooperate in its investigation. In return, baseball would drop its ongoing lawsuit against the bogus doctor, indemnify him against future damages, and provide personal security.
Many questions remain. If MLB has copies of Bosch's personal notebooks and business records, it's unclear how the league obtained them. Experts also question whether Bosch's testimony combined with those records would be enough evidence to suspend players. In the past, only positive drug tests have led to suspensions.
(However, that precedent has already changed. Cesar Carrillo, a minor-leaguer in the Tigers system, was suspended 100 games in March, reportedly over his ties to Biogenesis.)
It's worth noting that a New Times reporter spent three months with Fischer's records from Biogenesis and — with no "cooperation" from Bosch or any ballplayers — verified that the records were legitimate by interviewing six former clients, all of whom confirmed the details written about them in the notebooks were accurate. MLB's investigation division — which boasts 13 full-time staffers — could do the same.
In the weeks to come, baseball will reportedly interview Bosch, review its evidence, and present its case to an arbitration panel. Most of the players named in ESPN's latest story have declined to comment: Ryan Braun told reporters that "the truth has not changed" but refused to speak further. Alex Rodriguez released a statement that he would "monitor the situation and comment when appropriate."
Where all of that leaves Porter Fischer is much less clear. He still has hundreds of pages of Biogenesis records. He's willing to help any authority that wants to pursue Tony Bosch. And if MLB would offer him the same assurances it had evidently given Bosch, he'd even be willing to cooperate.