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STAR WEEKEND - ELSEWHERE IN THE HOOP WORLD
Published February 13, 1995
IRS INVESTIGATING NBA REFEREES: According to a report in Sunday's Portland OREGONIAN, the IRS is investigating 35 NBA referees for evading income taxes on millions in "allegedly phony travel expenses." The paper cites "several sources" who claim that "some of the referees might have earned $100,000 or more on airline tickets during a five-year period ending with the 1993-94 season." The referees apparently "swapped first-class tickets for cash," and gave the league receipts for the tickets, but did not report the earnings to the league or IRS. Some referees claim the league "knowingly paid inflated travel costs as a substitute for giving them better pay." One referee, who requested anonymity: "The league knew we were making extra money on our plane tickets. That's a known fact." NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik would not comment on the investigation (Portland OREGONIAN, 2/12). LOTTO LOSS IN CANADA: The NBA announced that the expansion Grizzlies and Raptors will not have an opportunity to get the first pick in the NBA draft until 1999. Both teams "have been aware of this fact" since the expansion agreement was drawn up a year ago (Neil Campbell, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 2/11). TV TALK: The latest INSIDE MEDIA features an interview with Ed Dessner, President of NBA TV Ventures, and Mike Dressner, NBA Properties' VP/Media and Marketing Group. Dessner said , on whether U.S. or Canadian companies will sponsor broadcasts of the two new Canadian teams: "It depends. ... Some categories cross the borders better than others. In the U.S., banks are generally local or regional. In Canada, banks are national. Automotive is a category that is very much the same" (Mike Reynolds, INSIDE MEDIA, 2/14 issue). NBC's potential national deal with CTV could mean a blackout of NBC's Sunday games if there is a corresponding CTV telecast of a Raptors or Grizzlies game. Talks between the NBA and CTV continue (Howard Tsumura, Vancouver PROVINCE, 2/13).