U.S. Attorneys probe National Basketball Players Association
National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher asked for a review of union finances and was promptly asked to resign. Now, it looks like the government wants to take a look at the union.
Executive director Billy Hunter has been informed that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan is conducting an investigation and has subpoenaed documents, Bloomberg reported on Friday.
“The NBPA will cooperate fully with the government’s investigation,” the union said in a statement.
The exact substance of the investigation is not clear.
The union has created a six-member committee of player representatives and executives to conduct an internal review and financial audit, Bloomberg reported.
The committee has retained the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to conduct the inquiry.
The news comes days after Bloomberg reported that public records show Hunter’s family members and their businesses have been paid almost $4.8 million by the union since 2001.
Hunter’s daughter and daughter-in-law work for the union, another daughter is special counsel at a law firm used by the association and his son is a principal at a financial planning and investment firm that was paid more than $45,000 per month the last fiscal year to run the union’s financial awareness program and advise on investments, the report states, citing U.S. Labor Department filings.
Hunter, 69, discussed his family’s role in the union during the executive committee conference call last week, said a member of the committee, the Wizards’ Maurice Evans, according to Bloomberg.
According to a 2011 Labor Department filing cited by Bloomberg, Hunter made $2.39 million in salary that year.
Fisher sent a letter earlier this week to player reps informing them the union’s executive committee had decided the NBPA should undergo a business review, according to one Eastern Conference player representative. Several executive committee members, however, were surprised by the tone of the letter because the decision was not unanimous, another source said.
According to several sources, Hunter then contacted each committee member and convinced them the union already undergoes a regular internal audit and that Fisher’s suggestion was both redundant and a personal attack on Hunter’s leadership.
The committee, sources say, reversed course on the business review and, as an added measure, agreed to ask Fisher to step down.
Sounds like Brandon Knight needs to be appointed president of the players union so he can clean up this mess. It doesn’t sound good for Mr. Hunter.
Yahoo Sports writer, Adrian Wojnarowski, has a very in-depth look at this issue as well, which you can read here.