Tim Donaghy reported to prison Tuesday

24 09 2008

Tim Donaghy reported to prison Tuesday in Florida, but many of the issues he raised about the culture of the NBA’s officiating remain unresolved.While NBA clubs gear up for the start of another training camp, disgraced referee Tim Donaghy began serving a 15-month sentence on Tuesday at a minimum-security federal prison camp in Pensacola, Fla.
Donaghy, a veteran of 13 NBA seasons, created a public-relations nightmare for the league when he pleaded guilty last year to felony gambling charges. Two other gamblers who attended a Philadelphia-area high school with Donaghy — James “Baba” Battista and Thomas Martino — also pleaded guilty in the tips-for-payoffs gambling scheme. Battista was sentenced to 15 months; Martino to a year.
Over the past year, NBA commissioner David Stern has cast Donaghy — 41 and a divorced father of four young girls — as a “rogue, isolated criminal” solely responsible for the betting scandal that threatened the credibility of the league and its referees. No other refs have been charged, nor has the league publicly announced disciplinary action against any others.


NBA “2002″ Series Fixed

11 06 2008

2002 Lakers-Kings Game 6 at heart of Donaghy allegations

LOS ANGELES — Was Game 3 of the 2008 NBA Finals held at the scene of a crime?

Disgraced ex-referee Tim Donaghy alleged as much Tuesday in a filing made by his attorney in U.S. District Court in New York, saying the highly controversial Game 6 of the Lakers-Kings playoff series in 2002 was impacted by the actions of two of the three referees who worked the game.

NBA commissioner David Stern vehemently denied the allegations, saying they are the desperate act of a convicted felon. He also disclosed that the league has already briefed members of the U.S. Congress on certain facets of the Donaghy investigation.

“We welcome scrutiny here. This is something that should be scrutinized,” said Stern, who called Donaghy a “singing, cooperating witness” and repeatedly referred to him as a felon as he spoke with reporters for more than eight minutes near the loading dock of the Staples Center as he arrived for Game 3 of the Finals.

The allegations are some of the strongest ever made against the NBA, coming at a time when the officiating of this year’s Finals between the Celtics and Lakers has come under heavy scrutiny.

In the letter submitted by Donaghy’s attorney, the following “manipulation” is alleged:

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Naive to think fixes haven’t been common

19 05 2008

by Michael Rosenberg, Special to FOXSports.com

Updated: May 19, 2008, 1:18 PM EST

280 comments add this


If you watched much of the NBA in recent years, you might have gotten duped at some point. Former referee Tim Donaghy bet on 14 games that he worked in 2006-07, according to court filings.

Please, please, PLEASE: Do not be surprised.

It is not a surprise that Donaghy bet on games; this was fairly apparent last summer, when he was arrested. It is not a surprise that he bet on games in which he officiated; this too was evident.

And we should not have been surprised last summer, when the news broke. The sports world is in denial about gambling.

We think point-shaving is extremely rare and isolated, mostly because that’s what we want to believe. We think of Donaghy as a rogue criminal, because it’s easier to think of him that way. But enough point-shaving scandals have emerged in the last 20 years to make fans and executives re-evaluate the threat.

Consider that A) gambling is an addiction that leads people to commit acts out of desperation, for money; B) basically every game you watch is fixable, since every game is gambled upon; and C) well, do you really need a C?

No matter the sport, we watch because we assume the outcome is not pre-determined.

They’ve never been good at rules anyhow…

25 10 2007

Stern says refs broke gambling policies, but will change rules rather than issue punishments

By BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer
October 25, 2007NEW YORK (AP) — David Stern acknowledged Thursday that more than half of his 56 referees had violated NBA policies about casino gambling, but said none will be punished because he felt the rules were outdated.

Instead, Stern said he is altering the policies, leaning toward allowing referees to gamble in casinos during the offseason — except for betting in sports books.

The league’s strict gambling policies toward referees became public after the Tim Donaghy scandal. The NBA currently prevents its officials from entering the gaming area of a casino, or doing any betting at all except for going to race tracks during the offseason.

But Stern admitted he did a poor job of enforcing the policies, and with views toward gambling changing, decided he wouldn’t “penalize people for behavior that I’m about to change.”

“It’s too easy to issue rules that are on their faith violated by $5 Nassau, sitting at a poker table, buying a lottery ticket and then we can move along,” Stern said after wrapping up the league’s Board of Governors meetings. “And by the time I got through and I determined going into a casino isn’t a capital offense … I’m the CEO of the NBA and I’ll take responsibility.”

Stern also said Stu Jackson and Ronnie Nunn, in charge of monitoring officiating, will both have their roles altered. But he stressed they were being “expanded” rather than demotions — even though Jackson’s job now will be divided between two people and the league will be “cutting down on some of (Nunn’s) other responsibilities.”

The commissioner stressed there is still no indication that any other officials were involved in illegal gambling activity, but practically all of them violated a league policy that Stern called “too harsh.” That included anything from buying lottery tickets to taking part in poker games, betting on college football or taking part in NCAA tournament pools.

Stern ordered a review of the league’s entire officiating program after Donaghy pleaded guilty to betting on games he worked and providing information to others to help them win bets. Though the investigation being conducted by former federal prosecutor Lawrence Pedowitz can’t be completed until the federal investigation of Donaghy is wrapped up, it has already sparked some changes.

Stern said the league likely will begin listing the names of the crew of referees the morning of the game, and steps will be taken to admit when officiating mistakes were made.

Then there are the changes with Jackson and Nunn, who both came under fire after the scandal broke.

Jackson, the league’s executive vice president of basketball operations, will remain in that area, but sometime this season the league will hire a full-time referee operations executive. Jackson will continue to hand out on-court discipline and deal with many of the league’s international ventures, but will give up his referee responsibilities.

Nunn, the director of officials, will spend more time on the road training younger officials. The league already has hired Bernie Fryer, who retired last season, to deal with the crew chiefs. Stern said Nunn told him that “it’s more valuable for him to be on the road than to do his television show.”

“We are broadening and taking more responsibility and we are doing it with the people that we have and we’re going to add to them,” Stern said, “but certainly it’s not a reduction of responsibility.”

Stern also reiterated that he is not currently considering any action toward Knicks coach Isiah Thomas or Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan in the aftermath of the ruling against them in a sexual harassment suit brought by former team executive Anucha Browne Sanders.

The trial did bring another change, however. All team personnel now will be required to set and meet minimum standards regarding sensitivity training and respect in the workplace.

The board heard what “wasn’t a very uplifting report” about the situation in Seattle, where there has been no progress on funding for a new arena that would keep the SuperSonics in the city. Stern called himself an optimist but said his “optimism is waning” when it comes to the team’s future there.

Donaghy’s sentencing has been delayed until January, and Stern said he expects to learn further details about what the former referee did or didn’t do, such as making calls to affect games, if he cooperates with investigators. But Stern dismissed the notion that this season is more important than any other because of the scrutiny the league has been under since the summer.

“We evolve, we respond, we grow,” he said.

Only Twenty?

24 08 2007

“Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy struck a deal Monday to name twenty other NBA referees who broke the league’s gambling rules. The refs could all lose their jobs. ”

 Full Story

Yep, I did it, admits dirty ref

19 08 2007

Disgraced NBA referee Tim Donaghy admitted yesterday to pocketing more than $30,000 by passing inside tips on games to pals in an illegal gambling ring.

The crooked ex-official whose dirty dealings soiled the reputation of the pro hoops game pleaded guilty to charges that could put him behind bars for 25 years.

Every time his tip was on the mark, the rogue official was paid $5,000.

“I was in a unique position to pick the outcome of NBA games,” Donaghy, 40, told a judge in Brooklyn Federal Court. “I received cash payments for successful picks. Some of my picks included games I had been assigned to referee.”

From the insider perch, Donaghy added, “I was aware of the manner in which officials interacted with players and called games, as well as the condition of players prior to a game.”

Federal prosecutors alleged that Donaghy was betting on games he refereed back to 2003. But he denied that yesterday as he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to transmit bets and wagers.

Donaghy said he used a special code to communicate his tips to his betting buddies, James Battista, 42, and Thomas Martino, 41, two ex-high school classmates also charged yesterday.

Battista’s lawyer Jack McMahon said outside court he expects Donaghy has made a deal with prosecutors and will give testimony against his client.

“Mr. Donaghy walked away with a nice situation for himself,” McMahon said. “He is the linchpin, and he seems to have worked his way into a nice situation. I don’t know if that is fair.”

In addition to jail time, Donaghy is facing fines totaling half a million dollars and has agreed to cough up the $30,000 in ill-gotten gains.

All three men were released after posting a $250,000 bond.

Donaghy, a 13-year NBA veteran, resigned July 9 after news surfaced that he was at the center of an FBI probe. The betting scheme was uncovered during an investigation into the Gambino crime family in Brooklyn, but none of the defendants has mob ties.

His lawyer said yesterday a gambling addiction led to his involvement.

“He’s had a severe gambling problem for awhile that went untreated,” said lawyer John Lauro.

Donaghy, who lives in Florida, also told Judge Carol Bagley Amon he was taking drugs for depression and anxiety.

“He expresses a great deal of remorse and concern about the pain that he’s caused his family, his friends and his co-workers,” Lauro said.

It was unclear yesterday whether others are involved in the gambling scandal, but U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf said the investigation is continuing.

NBA commissioner David Stern said the league was still reviewing its officiating program.

Lamell McMorris, a spokesman for the National Basketball Referees Association, the union representing game officials, said: “We recognize that a cloud has descended upon all referees. But we are committed to showing the public that this was an isolated event and that NBA officiating is conducted at the highest levels of honesty, integrity and fairness.”


Arizona officials want information

16 08 2007

By Michael Kiefer, The Arizona Republic
PHOENIX — Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas on Wednesday sent letters to NBA Commissioner David Stern and to the head of the FBI in Washington, D.C., asking that his office be given all information about Tim Donaghy’s handling of the two Phoenix Suns playoff games.
Thomas wants to know whether Donaghy gambled on the games, provided inside information to gamblers or helped determine the outcome.

“Specifically it has been reported that Mr. Donaghy refereed playoff series games between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers on April 29, 2007, and the Phoenix Suns and San Antonio Spurs on May 12, 2007,” Thomas wrote.

“If Mr. Donaghy purposely failed to officiate the games properly and his conduct resulted in changing the outcome of games, such conduct might have violated various Arizona criminal statutes and could be the subject of criminal prosecution.”

Thomas did not comment Wednesday, but Special Assistant County Attorney Barnett Lotstein said Arizona’s “long-arm statute” allows the county to prosecute. “If any element of the crime happened in our county, we have jurisdiction,” Lotstein said.

Among the possible felony charges are fraudulent schemes and artifices, which carries a possible prison term of three to 10 years; and bribery of participants in professional or amateur games, which carries a possible prison term of one to 3¾ years.

Former NBA Ref Tim Donaghy to plead guilty Wednesday (8/15/07)

14 08 2007

By PAT MILTON, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK – Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy planned to plead guilty in federal court on Wednesday to charges alleging he wagered on games he officiated, a person familiar with the betting scandal probe said.

Donaghy was to surrender at Brooklyn federal court, the person said on condition of anonymity because Donaghy hadn’t turned himself in yet.

NBA spokesman Tim Frank told the AP the league was informed Tuesday that Donaghy would plead Wednesday but was given no further information.

Donaghy’s attorney, John Lauro, and federal prosecutors declined to comment. NBA commissioner David Stern said last month the referee’s lawyer told the league his client was contemplating a plea.

Besides allegedly placing his own wagers, investigators also examined whether Donaghy provided inside information to others, including referees’ schedules. The referee had a gambling problem and was approached by low-level mob associates through an acquaintance, a law enforcement official said.

The FBI first contacted the NBA on June 20 to talk about a referee alleged to be gambling on games, and the two sides met on June 21, Stern said last month. Donaghy resigned July 9 after 13 years as a referee, though Stern said he would have fired him sooner but was told it might affect the investigation.

Stern blamed a “rogue, isolated criminal” for the betting scandal that has devastated the league and threatened the credibility of every referee.

Donaghy was rated in the top tier of officials, Stern said, and there was nothing suspicious about the frequency of his foul calls. He was assigned to work in the second round of the playoffs, with his last NBA game coming during the Phoenix-San Antonio Western Conference semifinal.

No other NBA officials or players were expected to be involved in the scandal, which Stern called the “most serious situation and worst situation that I have ever experienced either as a fan of the NBA, a lawyer for the NBA or a commissioner of the NBA.”

Others outside the NBA are expected to be charged.

Other referees to be named in NBA referee scandal?

9 08 2007

According to Philadelphia Sports Radio 950′s Jamie Yannacone, other officials could be implicated in the Donaghy gambling case.

Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a former NBA player told Yannacone that if Donaghy talks “double-digit numbers of referees and at least one player could be implicated”.

Of course, this is all dependent on if Donaghy talks.

“Either way, it might be the case that nothing comes to light if Donaghy keeps quiet,” Yannacone told Not The Game, “but my source, a former NBA player, was adamant that the NBA could be in serious trouble if Donaghy sings.”

“Unfortunately, there is not really much more I can say about it.”

Putting this in perspective, it is unlikely that Donaghy will want to rat out anyone else who was involved, as this would anger a lot of people. Probably people that Donaghy does not want to anger.

If this does come out, and there were other officials and players involved, then this could be the end of the NBA as we know it. One bad apple is one thing, but if what we have been watching for the last few years has been a farce, than this will do more harm than any strike or scandal could.

We will stay on top of this at Not The Game.

You can hear more on Sports Radio 950 in Philadelphia on the 700 Level Sports Fanatics,
weeknights Mon-Thur 7-11, and Friday 7-10. Its a great show and highly recommended for breaking local and national sports news.

Original Story

Referee Camp Goes On Despite Co-Founder’s Absence

8 08 2007

Dick Standish

(CBS 3) SPRINGFIELD, Pa. Five NBA referees from the Delaware Valley held a mini-camp for mentally challenged students at the Don Guanella School in Springfield, Delaware County Monday.

“Timmy Donaghy and Duke Callahan called me up and they said they wanted to give something back to the community,” said Bob Neely of the Don Guanella School.

The camp was co-founded by Tim Donaghy in 1997. Donaghy, a former NBA ref, is now at the center of an F.B.I. gambling investigation following allegations he bet on NBA games and called fouls to impact point spreads.

Though Donaghy was not be present at Monday’s camp session, the refs honored their commitment to make an appearance.

“When you come to the door and you sit there and they all come up to you and hug you, they look forward to it. They bring sunshine into our lives,” said NBA Referee Steve Javie. “If you walked into a place and kids just jumped up and down and smiled at you just for you being there, you have to sit there and say, ‘wow, the world is really OK.’ You know, and all the problems just go away.

Link to original story.