Juan Carlos Nunez, who worked for the powerful Brooklyn-based ACES sports agency before he was caught up in two doping scandals — the 2012 Melky Cabrera fake website scam and the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug case — detonated spring training when he filed a bombshell complaint in New York State Supreme Court Monday, naming ACES and sports agent brothers Seth and Sam Levinson as defendants.
The explosive complaint alleges that after Nunez signed a contract to work for ACES beginning in 2006, he “was told that he had to do ‘whatever it took’ to recruit and retain players as ACES clients.”
“Plaintiff came to learn that ‘whatever it took’ meant violating criminal law in addition to the rules of Major League Baseball, as well as the Players’ Union, including by making under-the-table payments to players and their friends and family, helping players obtain and use performance-enhancing drugs to get bigger contracts and ultimately engaging in an elaborate coverup to hide the misconduct from MLB and its Players’ Union,” the complaint reads.
In August 2012, the Daily News first reported about Nunez being in cahoots with former Yankee Melky Cabrera — an ACES client — to develop a phony website for a product that Cabrera claimed caused him to test positive for elevated levels of synthetic testosterone. Cabrera, who played for the Giants that season and was having an MVP-caliber season, ended up serving a 50-game doping suspension. Nunez was banned by Major League Baseball from dealing with its 30 clubs.
The Levinsons denied any involvement with the fake website then, and they said Nunez was a “paid consultant.” The union said it would censure the Levinsons after an investigation into the matter, but the two brothers escaped the more serious punishment of losing their certification.
“I was the only one who had dealings with the website,” Nunez told The News in 2012. “Neither Seth nor Sam had any dealings with the website, nor did anyone else in the firm.”
But now, six years later, Nunez paints a different story in the complaint.
“When their machinations to cover up the use of PEDs by ACES client Melky Cabrera failed, Defendants threw Plaintiff under the proverbial bus to protect their own reputation and minimize their own liability by forcing Plaintiff to take sole responsibility for their conduct,” the complaint says.
Less than a year after the Melky fake website imbroglio, Nunez was one of the key figures at the center of Biogenesis founder Anthony Bosch’s PED scandal. Bosch and his Coral Gables anti-aging clinic provided PEDs to numerous professional baseball players, including the biggest fish in the sport at the time, Yankee slugger Alex Rodriguez. Over half a dozen players suspended by MLB for their ties to Biogenesis were ACES clients.
Nunez was ultimately one of several defendants in the federal Biogenesis case, and he ended up pleading guilty to conspiracy and was sentenced in 2015 to three months in jail for his role in the scandal. A-Rod served a season-long suspension in 2014 due to his links to Bosch and Biogenesis.
Nunez claims in the complaint that slugger Nelson Cruz, who was also suspended by MLB in the Biogenesis matter, was treated by Bosch with PEDs. Nunez claims that “under the Defendant Sam Levinson’s supervision and with his approval, (Nunez) picked up supplies for Cruz at Biogenesis.” Nunez claims one of those supplies was human growth hormone, banned by Major League Baseball.
“Defendant Sam Levinson was pleased to hear that Cruz would receive PEDs from Bosch, because Levinson knew that it would improve Cruz’s performance, and therefore increase ACES’ commissions,” the complaint says.
The Levinsons represent such boldface clients as the Mets’ ailing captain David Wright, former AL MVP Dustin Pedroia, Mets reliever Jeurys Familia, and retired stars like former Yankee catcher Jorge Posada.
Seth Levinson did not return an email for comment. The Players Association and MLB also did not return emails from The News.
The complaint names former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski as having signed an affidavit “that he regularly provided ACES clients with PEDs, with the Defendants’ knowledge and approval.”
Nunez is seeking damages of “not less than $3 million,” and accuses the defendants of breach of contract, tortious interference, and conspiracy to defraud.