Friday, May 14, 2010

Latest accusation re: Donaghy making threats/harassing adversaries

I suppose I am more tuned into this alleged pattern of Tim Donaghy's behavior than others because of my research, but I wonder if anyone else is even noticing this.  The former NBA referee is mentioned in the news today as having made threatening calls against an adversary - again.  This time, the supposed victim was none other than his publisher, VTi-Media, with whom he is at odds over royalty payments.  According to the sports betting website, "the Tampa-based VTi-group [is] saying [Donaghy] has issued threats against members of the firm...Beyond the money dispute are allegations by VTi that associates of Donaghy have threatened VTi employees with harm if the payments are not made.  'The phone calls we received were not implied threats,' says [VTi CEO Shawna] Vercher, who did not say how many threats were made. 'They were direct threats.'"  The Philadelphia Daily News added, "Vercher said that Donaghy has been contacting company employees and book vendors with 'increasingly irate and threatening calls,' demanding money for his book.  'One thing he said in particular is that, "You know I have associates in the Gambino crime family and they are active in this part of the state,"' Vercher said...Vercher says she has audio recordings of some of the alleged threats. She said VTi is gathering other evidence to support its request for a restraining order next week."

For casual followers, a refresher on similar accusations against Tim Donaghy may be useful.  In August 2008, the National Basketball Referees Association alleged Donaghy made threatening calls.  As detailed in USA Today: "The National Basketball Referees Association said a man identifying himself as Tim Donaghy has been making threatening phone calls since the former NBA referee last week was sentenced to 15 months in prison...Lamell McMorris, the NBRA's lead negotiator and spokesman, said a man identifying himself as Donaghy made calls to McMorris' Perennial Strategy Group, a consulting firm in Washington, D.C., on July 30 threatening bodily harm.  McMorris said the person threatened to 'have someone hurt' if the referees association did not stop 'spreading lies to the media.'  McMorris said a follow-up phone call by the person identifying himself as Donaghy was made to the NBRA offices, also in Washington. The person emphasized his anger toward McMorris for calling him a 'scoundrel' in a statement after Donaghy's sentencing. 'He reiterated that he was tired of "taking it" and was upset, and had info that he had not released,' McMorris said."  [A related USA Today op-ed penned by the NBRA is here.]

The August 2008 NBRA situation followed the March 2008 allegations by his wife (who had filed for divorce in September 2007).  As recounted in the New York Daily News, "Kim Donaghy sought an order of protection after a March 14 blowup with her husband, claiming in court papers that he threatened to 'knock my...head off my body.'  'He was enraged, out of control, cursing at me in front of our four children and making threats,' Kim Donaghy claimed, adding that he beat their children."  The matter was later dropped when she failed to show for a court appearance.

All of the above is in addition to the widely-publicized 2005 imbroglio with his neighbors, Pete and Lisa Mansueto.  According to the Associated Press, the Mansuetos "sued Donaghy for harassment and invasion of privacy, and accused him of vandalizing their property and stalking Lisa Mansueto. In their lawsuit, the Mansuetos also alleged that Donaghy set fire to a tractor they owned and crashed their golf cart from Radley Run Country Club into a ravine."  According to the Philadelphia Inquirer's coverage of the suit, "in the summer of 2003...Donaghy initiated 'a pattern of public harassment' that included yelling obscenities at the Mansuetos.'  The paper added, 'The suit also states that Donaghy was charged by West Goshen Township Police with disorderly conduct and harassment in June 2000.  Court records show that Donaghy had a verbal altercation with his mail carrier; however, the charges were dismissed when the carrier did not show up for a hearing.'1  According to a summary of the latter case from the New York Daily News, "Mail carrier Charles Brogan, 48, said he was making a delivery at Donaghy's home when his car knocked over a container containing bottles and cans in 2002.  'He just freaked out,' Brogan said. 'He came out screaming and hollering. . . . He tried to belittle me like I'm just a public servant and he's the big NBA ref. I guess he wanted me to fight him, but I would have lost my job.'  Police arrested Donaghy and charged him with disorderly conduct, harassment and stalking."

I should note in closing that I am also aware of Donaghy (or someone in his camp) allegedly phoning threats to a business agent who assists Donaghy's former co-conspirator Jimmy Battista.  Soon after Battista appeared on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel in November 2009, someone claiming to be CBS producer Bob Anderson made a threatening call to Battista's agent.  That call was followed a short time later by another threatening call to the agent by someone claiming to be ESPN writer/producer Mike Fish.  The calls were made immediately before Donaghy appearances on CBS (60 Minutes) and ESPN, respectively, before the public knew of Donaghy's forthcoming interviews (suggesting the caller was Donaghy or someone close to him).

1.Kathleen Brady Shea, "Referee out of bounds, suit says," Philadelphia Inquirer, January 21, 2005. (Not available online)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Insightful Donaghy interview on 95.5 The Game

Another newsworthy appearance for former NBA referee Tim Donaghy.  He appeared on 95.5 The Game (Portland) on 5/10/10, where the hosts of the Morning Sports Page had the audacity to reference analysis and official records in their insightful interview.

Dozens of other sports radio hosts around the country are apparently not aware they are allowed to do a modicum of research and to ask follow-up questions.  Among other things, the MSP hosts properly pointed out that the FBI never "concluded" Donaghy didn't fix games, and that there is no supporting evidence for his claim that he won 70% to 80% of his bets.  Donaghy, himself, says he can't reproduce his betting propositions (sides, lines, outcomes), so how could the FBI "confirm" anything re: Donaghy's betting success rate?  The FBI doesn't even pretend to know how many games he bet much less what the propositions and their results were.

Latest Donaghy allegation: FBI was "adamant" other NBA referees passed along inside info that could "help others place winning bets"

Appearing on ESPN Radio affiliate 1080AM (The Fan, Portland) on 5/10/10, former NBA referee Tim Donaghy said the following in response to a question regarding whether other referees were betting on NBA games:

"I know that the FBI agents were adamant that with the information I gave them, and through their investigation, I certainly wasn't the only one that was passing along inside information to others that could help others place winning bets."1

Reprising an earlier post with a similar theme, if it is true "FBI agents" (i.e., not just Donaghy and not merely a current or former FBI agent) believed other NBA referees were "passing along inside information to others that could help others place winning bets," that would certainly be news.  It would also suggest that cooperating witness Donaghy was somehow privy to confidential aspects of a federal investigation, possibly even as it was unfolding.  Of course, given Donaghy's problematic record of, to be polite, "misstatements" to date, all of this being true is a big "if".  Thus, it would be helpful if hosts would ask for evidence backing up Donaghy's myriad claims, and why/how he supposedly knows so much about the FBI's investigation when it is standard policy for law enforcement officials not to share criminal intelligence with cooperating witnesses.  As is often said in criminal justice circles, information dissemination with informants and cooperating witnesses is a one-way street - they provide information to authorities (not the other way around).

1 From 11:41 of the interview from the "Primetime with Isaac & Big Suke" program.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cover and brief promo text for Gaming the Game

Here is the cover, followed below with the accompanying promo text, for my forthcoming book, Gaming the Game: The Story Behind the NBA Betting Scandal and the Gambler Who Made It Happen (Barricade, 2011):
In June 2007, the FBI informed the NBA that one of its referees, Tim Donaghy, was the subject of a probe into illegal gambling.  Within months, the public knew the broad outlines of a scheme involving Donaghy betting on games he officiated with a co-conspirator, longtime Donaghy acquaintance and professional gambler Jimmy “Baba” Battista.  They were joined in the scandal by a mutual childhood friend, Tommy Martino.  By November 2008, each man had pleaded guilty to charges relating to the conspiracy, and was in federal prison.  The story was over.  Or so it seemed to be.

Researched with dozens of interviews, court documents, betting records, referee statistics, and unique access to witness statements and confidential law enforcement files, GAMING THE GAME looks inside the FBI’s investigation and beyond to provide the definitive account of the scandal.  Jimmy Battista’s remarkable decades-long bookmaking and betting career is examined, including and especially his role as architect of the widely publicized scandal.  Battista, who - unlike his co-conspirators - never spoke with federal authorities, reveals for the first time the intricate details of the scheme, most of which only he knows.