Rascals Skate--Commission Blamed
(In which the district attorney explains why a drug test forger
blithely on to an unshadowed future of petty skulduggery)
A forged and phony drug screen report and
the magic of the FAX machine were the tools that let boxer Awel
Abdulai box on a club show at the Roseland Theater in Portland, OR
last Feb. 19. The fakery wasn't discovered until two weeks after
the event when reporter Mac Montandon of Willamette Week Newspaper
stumbled on the real drug report which showed Abdullai testing
positive for marijuana.
In the wake of Montandon's discovery both
CBZ and Willamette Week reported that the Roseland show had other
problems as well. The actual promoter, music impresario David
Leiken, was not licensed to promote boxing as required by state
law. The actual matchmaker, Dan Stenado, was not licensed. The
manager and cornerman of Abdulai was not licensed. One boxer's
contract was not enforced. Deadlines had been waived by the Oregon
Boxing and Wrestling Commission's Executive Director, Jim Cassidy,
allowing a last minute paperwork frenzy in which the phony drug
test was accepted without question by Cassidy.
A criminal investigation into the
falsification of the drug report was launched by Cassidy's
supervisor, Captain Robert Miller. The investigator, Sergeant
Burdick of OSP Gaming Enforcement, turned his findings over to the
Multnomah County District Attorney's office in June. The person
named as a suspect in the forgery of the drug report was Portland
booker, Howard Tanzman. Tanzman had been named by several people
involved in the show as the likely scissor artist who attached
Abdulai's name to another boxer's clean drug test, and faxed it
the the Commission office.
On Thursday, July 13, the D.A. decided it is
impossible to prove a case against Tanzman beyond a reasonable
doubt. The case was reviewed by Assistant District Attorney Rodney
Hopkinson. In his notes explaining why the case could not be
prosecuted, Hopkinson points straight at the failings of the
Oregon State Police Boxing and Wrestling Commission.
This is A.D.A. Hopkinson's written explanation of
the Multnomah County decision not to prosecute this case. In this
document "Def" refers to Howard Tanzman.
"Case could not be proved
beyond a reasonable doubt. While Def is the most likely suspect,
based on the information available, it could not be proved that
Def personally made or uttered the forged urine analysis report.
No one to testify they saw Def do either. The hotel clerk was not
able to ID Def and even the hotel clerk says at least two people
were present when the faxes came in. Which one, if either, then
forged the UA [urine analysis] report? Or did they both forge it?
Or did they give the faxes to someone else who did forge it?
"What is clear is that
there were many people who would benefit and profit by forging the
report (including the questioned boxer Abdulai, who is tentatively
I.D'd as one of the persons who was present when the faxes
arrived). The irony of this case is that we could not
establish that Def himself was to profit from the forgery, yet
those who the state would need to call as witnesses did in
fact profit from the forgery and the fight taking place.
"Furthermore, case is
complicated by the fact that virtually everyone involved is
unlicensed and quite possibly in violation of ORS 463.995 (Class A
Misdemeanor). Even if the case was issued, it would require the
state to call witnesses who by their own testimony would
incriminate themselves. Most likely, these witnesses, on advice of
council, would choose not to testify.
status of those involved presents other problems. The Oregon State
Boxing Commission is a designated criminal justice agency.
ORS 463. 200. The Commission has the authority to conduct
investigations, issue subpoenas to compel attendance of witnesses,
fine parties, and also suspend licenses. ORS 463.185. While the
Commission is in the best position to investigate and make
findings regarding this case (and to prevent these frauds from
taking place), its failure to deal only with those properly
licensed means it lacks authority and jurisdiction over
those parties. The Commission has no authority over those it does
"Even though we
can't prove that Def was the one who actually "made" the
forged report, I did review the case to see if we could prove he
"uttered" it and whether we could establish that he was
the one who faxed the report to the Commission, thus allowing the
fight to take place. We could not. Apparently the Commission opted
to accept a blindly sent UA report without knowledge of who sent
it or whether it was being sent by a licensed participant. Cassidy
said he "Believed" the fraudulent UA report had been
faxed to him by the Vegas lab. It wasn't and we could not prove
beyond a reasonable doubt who, out of the many people with a
vested interest that the fight take place, sent (Uttered) the