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NBA REFS AWAIT POSSIBLE NEW ROUND OF INDICTMENTS BY THE IRS
Published March 11, 1998
"Many of the [NBA's] referees say they think the IRS is mounting another charge at several of them," according to Dwight Jaynes of the Portland OREGONIAN. One NBA ref: "There are still about 25 of us under investigation, and we think another 15 could be indicted by April 15." But Jaynes wrote that "there is an assertion by some that the actual amount of taxes owed is not enough to merit the heat of this investigation." One ref said George Tolliver, a former ref indicted last year, "owed tax of about $10,000. But he lost his job and his ability to repay the debt. ... People owe much more in taxes than that all the time and don't get prosecuted." Two refs also told Jaynes that the NBA "had a part" in the investigation and added, "They knew what we were doing and, in fact, used it against us in collective bargaining. It was a way for them to pay us more money without having to pay various payroll taxes on that money. Now they are doing nothing to help us." But Jaynes wrote of "speculation" that NBA Commissioner David Stern is waiting for the investigation to end and "then will contemplate some kind of amnesty program." NBA Senior VP Rod Thorn: "David has said publicly this isn't necessarily a death sentence. But he hasn't said it isn't either" (OREGONIAN, 3/10). THE OTHER REF: NEW YORK's Barbara Campbell profiles Sandra Ortiz-Del Valle, who filed a $1M gender discrimination suit against the NBA, "which declined to hire her as a ref despite her seventeen years of experience." NBA League Counsel Jeffrey Mishkin said that Ortiz-Del Valle "did not" meet the NBA's standards. Ortiz-Del Valle has rejected two NBA settlement offers, first $25,000, then $75,000, "in favor of her day in court" (NEW YORK, 3/98).