By Zach Arnold | August 19, 2014
The last 20 minutes of the video is where Dr. Lou Moret inflicts his damage
“Integrity is the only thing in business.” — Marcus Lemonis, The Profit (CNBC)
In his 30 years as a boxing referee in California, Dr. Lou Moret’s image of a cantankerous yet quietly skillful politician is the stuff of legend. He rarely talks, especially in public. Lou knows where the proverbial political skeletons are buried in both the Sacramento Legislature and Los Angeles County.
So, when Lou speaks, it’s an event. But nobody could have ever imagined a scenario where Dr. Moret would open up so candidly in public and let it all hang out. Uncensored. Unfiltered. Unstoppable.
At last week’s California State Athletic Commission meeting in Los Angeles, Lou Moret cut through the palaver on display about cutting the pay for officials and the illogical falsehood that somehow an officials pay scale is responsible for fraud being conspired by promoters & athletic inspectors at box offices. Not only did Dr. Lou destroy the new policy on officials taking a haircut over malice & incompetence, he ripped into Andy Foster over allegedly using unlicensed non-California officials for California events and for creating a climate of horrific boxing mismatches.
I’ve seen plenty of state athletic commission meetings go horribly wrong over the years but last week’s Los Angeles meeting may have truly been an all-time low for incompetence & tolerance of flagrant law breaking. Any fight industry insider or fan watching the meeting would be appalled by the logic on display. These people aren’t just living in another bubble. They’re living on another planet.
Last week, we wrote a detailed article laying out claims made at the August 11th CSAC meeting in Los Angeles in which Andy Foster admitted that box offices are being screwed up by athletic inspectors and that he’s tired of having to call promoters to pay more money for officials or calling promoters to return money that is owed to them.
The officials saw through the carnival barking. They know what’s going on. They’re sick and tired of it. However, no one could ever imagine a scenario where Lou Moret would be the man to call out Andy Foster, Jack Reiss, and John McCarthy over politics.
It was amazing to watch. No other official has had the guts to say in public what they have been privately saying for years now. The fear of retaliation has just been too great. However, with two inspector lawsuits against the Athletic Commission along with a Federal indictment alleging extortion, the gloves are off now and it’s only a matter of time before the flood gates open.
The debate over officials taking a pay cut
We exposed the fallacy of linking a pay cut to stopping fraud currently happening with the box offices at shows.
Lou Moret ripped into everyone taking a financial haircut except for doctors, who will be getting a pay raise soon. He noted that it’s the referees who have the most responsibility in protecting the safety of the fighters and that the spotlight is on them to do their job right or else lose bookings. Slyly, Moret took at a show at Andy Foster by saying:
“We all know there’s a number of mismatches.”
Like booking a female 59-year old 200-pounder versus a 300-pounder in a debut fight.
Moret talked about how promoters play games with the box office to get under the $30,000 threshold so that the officials aren’t paid as much money to work shows. He argued that most of the club shows have sub-$30,000 gates and that the new pay scale does nothing to fix any of the problems that currently exist.
“There’s a lot of freebies that doesn’t go into [the box office.]“
Moret pointed out that promoters pay no taxes to the Athletic Commission when they give out comp tickets while getting paid under the table or through sponsorships. He blasted the Athletic Commission for their Raul Caiz-busting referees association being promoted by Jack Reiss & John McCarthy. The back story on that fiasco can be read here.
Vice Chairman John Carvelli, who is Governor Jerry Brown’s man at the Athletic Commission, got into a tit-for-tat with Lou Moret over McCarthy’s officials association. Moret trashed the association as a political facade.
“We have an informal group. There’s no bylaws. … If there’s officers, they’ve appointed themselves. .. If they’re being used as a reason to [cut out pay], that’s why I said earlier in all due respect they’re doing it as individuals.
“No matter how you look at it, we’re getting screwed.”
Carvelli interrupted and asked Moret how he would rectify the situation regarding box office fraud and its impact on the pay officials receive.
When there is box office fraud or miscalculations and the financials are undervalued, the officials get paid less money. A virtual pay cut.
Now the Athletic Commission is giving them a second pay cut by passing a new officials pay scale, claiming that they have to do it because of all of the box office calculation errors!
Carvelli then made the following observation:
“It occurs to me you came today and you’re giving us a good discussion. Where’s everyone else?”
Moret said the referees don’t have an association. They’re licensees. They’re independent contractors. Carvelli completely ignored what Moret was claiming earlier about Jack Reiss & John McCarthy going into business for themselves.
Carvelli then observed:
“[The referees are] not here. They’re not organized. So I have to rely on Andy to respond back. I appreciate you coming.”
The reason officials don’t speak up is because they get retaliated against. They don’t get booked. There’s no communication with the front office. And when there is communication, they get an excuse as to why they’re not booked such as needing to take an ABC refresher course or having to pass through hoops that aren’t mandated in the California Code of Rules & Regulations. There are a number of officials in California who have been made examples out of in the last few years. Consumer Affairs can rely on most of those targeted officials not having the smarts to go on offense or the guts to file a lawsuit.
Lou Moret knows what the political climate is right now. After Carvelli stated to Moret that he has to rely on Andy to tell him about what’s going on with officials & athletic inspectors, Moret had enough and let it rip.
LOU MORET: “Listen, I know I’m going to get hurt for all of this. But I’m going to have my say. And I know I’m going to be retaliated (against) and I’m facing all of you. Because I know that’s going to happen. But let me tell you. If all he talked to is Jack Reiss and…”
ANDY FOSTER: “John McCarthy.”
LOU MORET: “OK, those are the guys you talked to. In California. Then shame on you, OK? First of all, they are not running anything.
“But they’re anointed, maybe. They’re getting all the benefits. If you look at every big show. Every big show we’ve had this year, guess who works? Guess how many championship fights Jack Reiss will work this month or this past three months? Every single one. How many have I worked? NONE. OK?
“(Referee) Tom Taylor, somebody’s that less than three years, he’s getting to judge [last Saturday's event at StubHub Center in Southern California]. That is a violation of the Muhammad Ali Act.
“[Andy Foster is] going to drum up whatever he wants and that’s what he’s been doing. And if you listen to him, I’m going to call for an investigation on a number of matters…
“He assigned a referee unlicensed.”
Accusations of violating the law & impropriety under the color of office
Sensing big time trouble, Consumer Affairs lawyer Spencer Walker stepped in and said, “Let me stop you right here.”
Carvelli, amazingly, let Lou Moret speak further about Andy allegedly booking an unlicensed referee.
“In Lancaster (on July 19th at the Pioneer Event Center). We arrived and were told, this is like three weeks ago. Jack Reiss and I refereed. We were told ahead of time that we would be training or they were going to assign a trainee official to referee two bouts and to judge two bouts.
“We arrived at the arena. Kurt Hoskin. And I met him. He tells me, this is what he says to me. That he had been a judge in New York, that he had refereed a couple of fights in New York in 2009. And that he’s applying for a license and he expected he’ll get it this year and that Andy was assigning him. To say that it was an injustice to California boxing to even allow him to get into the ring is an understatement. He came unprepared. He didn’t know what he was doing. He didn’t know how to fill out a card to judge. He scared the doctors and myself and he was a disaster.
“And he was unlicensed which put the state of California at risk. Now, nothing happened, so thank God.
“That is illegal, improper, and it’s an insult. No different than this commission [allowing Andy Foster] to bring in more outsider officials than any other state. If you just look at the fights from Vegas or Brooklyn, they seem to be getting the most fights. Very few outsiders, very few, which cause to take away work from us here. Cutting our pay on one end and not even giving us an opportunity to work on the other end. And this coming Saturday we have, what, three officials coming in? Yeah, three officials coming out of six.
ANDY FOSTER: “Look how many fights we’ve got.”
LOU MORET: “Anyway, I think you ought to have a review in the competency of this Executive Officer in violating the rules of California boxing. And I’m certainly going to write a letter to the Legislature. I’m putting you on notice, I better not be retaliated against. Any questions?
“Thank you very much.”
And with that, Lou Moret had his mic drop moment. I never thought I would see the day that he would do something like this but the man was on fire. The hilarious part is that he’s largely spot on accurate with his criticisms.
The name Kurt Hoskin surfaced a couple of weeks ago in Bay Area circles. I was told by a couple of sources that there was supposedly a big debate on whether or not Kurt Hoskin would be allowed to work an August 2nd boxing card in Pleasanton. Moret not only called Hoskin out by name, he alleged that Andy Foster put the Athletic Commission at legal risk by supposedly using an unlicensed official in California who didn’t know the rules & regulations. Moret did this right in front of the Athletic Commission’s lawyer, Spencer Walker.
The scary part about the August 11th meeting is that Moret’s comments were the bright spot of what turned out to be a terribly dispiriting meeting where there were plenty of allegations of ongoing box office errors and athletic inspectors being outright accused of incompetence.