RENO - Ever since he was informed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission in early October that he had tested positive for several banned substances following his one-round knockout of Charles Howe Sept. 21 at the Grand Sierra Resort, Reno middleweight Joey Gilbert has been on the defensive.
That all changed Monday when the 31-year-old Gilbert, through his Reno attorney Mark Schopper, went on the offensive and filed a motion to remove NSAC executive director Keith Kizer from any further involvement in Gilbert's battle to clear his name and accused him of what amounts to criminal acts.
Schopper accused Kizer of interfering with the boxer's expert witness, Dr. Robert O. Voy, defamation of character, willful or grossly negligent filing of a false accusation and abuse of power.
In the 38-page document, Schopper wrote that in interfering with Voy, Kizer had intimidated the expert witness with an e-mail and possibly dissuaded him from testifying or producing evidence in Gilbert's forthcoming agenda hearing.
Intimidating a witness to influence testimony is a felony and preventing or dissuading a person from testifying or producing evidence is a gross misdemeanor.
Kizer said Tuesday that deputy attorney general Chris Eccles was in the process of drafting a motion of opposition to Gilbert's charges. Kizer also said he didn't plan on recusing himself from Gilbert's pending hearing.
"I reviewed the motion and didn't see any merit in it," said Kizer, a licensed attorney. "I look forward, when Mr. Gilbert is ready, to having a hearing on its merits."
The commission has granted Gilbert, who has been on temporary suspension retroactive to Sept. 21, two motions of continuance so he and Schopper can gather the evidence they feel they need to go on with the agenda hearing.
Schopper said Tuesday that he has been waiting on Quest Diagnostics, which conducted Gilbert's pre-and post-fight urinalyses, to respond to his requests for information regarding its testing protocol and other issues.
Since Quest had not responded, Schopper said he was going to contact the attorney general's office to facilitate the matter so that Gilbert could appear before the five-member commission at the soonest possible date.
Ironically, it will be Kizer - not Gilbert - who will likely be one of the topics on the agenda when the commission next meets in mid-to-late February. The commission has the power to remove Kizer from the matter of Gilbert or, if it finds that he been conducting himself in a criminal or inappropriate way, from his position of executive director.
Gilbert originally tested positive for six drugs, including methamphetamine, amphetamine, the steroid Stanozolol metabolite, noriazepam, oxazepam and temazepam.
The commission and the attorney general dropped its pursuit of the methamphetamine charge after Gilbert's B sample, which was tested at the Center for Human Toxicology at the University of Utah, turned up negative for the drug.
Gilbert, who said he takes more than 70 supplements, tested positive for Stanazolol metabolite in an independent test (conducted by Quest on Oct.5). Gilbert's B sample also tested positive for the steroid.
Gilbert also submitted to the commission a hair test and the results of a polygraph examination that concluded he never knowingly ingested steroids or other illegal drugs.
At the heart of Schopper's motion are accusations that Kizer abused his position as executive director in ways such as tampering with and intimidating Voy and using the media to defame Gilbert by accusing him of using illegal drugs before the B sample could be ordered.
Furthermore, Schopper contends that the commission has no drug-testing protocols, thus rendering invalid any positive tests and that Kizer's statements to the media about Gilbert's initial test results amount to willful or grossly negligent filing of a false accusation.
When contacted at his Las Vegas office on Tuesday, Voy said he was a family friend and had known Gilbert since he was a child.
"I thought the initial media exposure was cut-and-dried and not in his favor," Voy said of his reasons for joining fellow toxicologist Dr. Raymond C. Kelly, also of Las Vegas, as a member of Gilbert's defense team.
Voy, the author of "Drugs, Sport, and Politics," is a former chief medical officer for the United States Olympic Team and former medical review officer for the National Football League Players Association.
In addition to being a former president of USA Boxing, Voy was a former ringside physician for the Nevada State Athletic Commission and in June 2006, according to Kizer, helped the commission with its Health and Safety Panel.
In his motion, Schopper alleges that Voy was in the midst of drafting a response to some of Kizer's comments to the media regarding the results of Gilbert's B sample when a statement was prematurely released by Chul Yim.
Yim, a member of Gilbert's public relations team, sent the release to the Internet. In the text, Gilbert assailed Kizer's handling of the case. Schopper sent out a correction saying that he wasn't involved with the statement. Schopper said Kizer then e-mailed Voy.
"I was surprised about the (statement) by Mr. Yim," Voy said. "It was followed by Keith Kizer's communication. It sort of intimidated me. I don't think the protocol has been done correctly, according to my background. Drug testing needs to be done in a very finite way. I think the commission will learn from this."
Schopper went on to say in the motion that the statement was an attempt to harass and intimidate Voy, with whom Kizer had no personal relationship.
"I'm very surprised and disappointed - I'm very shocked by that," Kizer said of Voy's comment about feeling intimidated. Kizer also said that Voy had originally initiated contact with him on Oct. 25 regarding an authorization letter to the Center for Human Toxicolgy.
Kizer also forwarded that e-mail and other electronic communications with Voy along with Gilbert's statement/media release and Schopper's correction.
"I'll let the e-mails speak for themselves," Kizer said.
On Jan. 10, the following communication took place via e-mail:
Kizer: "take it that like Mr. Schopper, you had nothing to do with this or the potshot at Dr. John Hyatt [who recently retired from Quest]. Keith."
Dr. Voy: "I had nothing to do with this. I do not know a Mr. Chul Yim, nor have I ever met or correstponded [sic] with him. I know nothing of his relationship with Joey Gilbert."
That correspondence was followed with the following e-mail on Jan. 11.
Kizer: "Like I wrote, I did not think you did."
Dr. Voy: 'Thank you Keith. This puts a terrible cloud over the whole issue. Dr. Voy."
All interested parties - Kizer and Schopper - should get a response from Eccles this week that will detail the next step in the continuing matter of Joey Gilbert.