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Against Legal Advice, Isiah Thomas Addresses Lawsuit
Published January 26, 2006
MORE DETAILS: Knicks G Stephon Marbury is also named in the suit, which states that “his attitude toward [Browne Sanders] mirrored Thomas’ (N.Y. TIMES, 1/26). In N.Y., Michael O’Keeffe reports the suit claims that Mills told Browne Sanders in ’04 that MSG Chair James Dolan “wanted her to create jobs” for Hassan Gonsalves and Tasheem Ward, Marbury’s cousins, “even though both men were ‘completely unqualified.’” The suit states, “Gonsalves was ultimately fired by MSG, at Browne Sanders’ urging, because he engaged in repeated and flagrant sexual harassment.” Sources said that Ward “remains employed by the club and is well-liked.” The suit also claims Dolan “ordered” Browne Sanders to hire Vernon Manuel, a “former Dolan landscaper who had dated” Dolan’s daughter. The suit says Manuel “forged his manager’s signature on multiple occasions, stole from the company and acted in a hostile and aggressive manner with many women on the staff” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/26).
BROWNE SANDERS: Browne Sanders held a separate press conference earlier in the day and “called the accusations that she was seeking a financial windfall ‘a diversion.’” She also did not take questions. Kevin Mintzer, one of Browne Sanders’ attorneys, said that a settlement “was discussed with the Garden before her departure, but $6.5[M] was an incorrect figure.” He would not reveal the correct figure and said that there “had been no attempt at mediation” (N.Y. TIMES, 1/26). Browne Sanders: “I know I’m going up against some of the most powerful men in sports. ... And it’s very intimidating, but I know I’m doing the right thing” (N.Y. TIMES, 1/26). In N.Y., Venezia, Berman & MacIntosh cite a source saying that Browne Sanders “had given indications that she would demand compensation long before she filed suit.” The source said that she told an MSG exec last year that if she left, “With all the things I know, I should get [$6-10M]. ... One thing I know about this place is they always pay” (N.Y. POST, 1/26).
|Browne Sanders’ Motive
Questioned By Some
ARE THOMAS’ DAYS NUMBERED? The N.Y. POST’s George Willis writes the allegation is “an embarrassing stain on Thomas’ tenure with the Knicks and comes at a time when his leadership is being scrutinized. Never has his authority and job security seemed so vulnerable. ... This development only adds to the perception the franchise is becoming dysfunctional and that may prompt owner Jim Dolan to end another clash of personalities” between Thomas and coach Larry Brown (N.Y. POST, 1/26). The N.Y. TIMES’ Harvey Araton: “If Browne Sanders has a well-documented case, it will be a much graver threat to Thomas’s job security than trading for Stephon Marbury, no matter what Mills and [Dolan] say or think now” (N.Y. TIMES, 1/26). The N.Y. DAILY NEWS’ Mitch Lawrence writes while Dolan “might think he has just cause to fire” Thomas, “let’s let the legal process take its course and not rush to judgment. But if her charges prove true, case closed. Isiah must go” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/26). The N.Y. DAILY NEWS’ Frank Isola writes the “fact that the organization is standing behind Thomas supports the theory that Dolan has no plans to either fire Thomas or ask for his resignation” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/26).
MEDIA MONITOR: Last night’s MSG Network broadcast of Kings-Knicks, with play-by-play announcer Mike Breen and analyst Kenny Smith, did not mention Thomas’ situation. MSG’s “SportsDesk” also did not report on Thomas (THE DAILY). In N.Y., Phil Mushnick writes sarcastically about the lack of coverage by the net, “Perhaps no one at MSG Network had heard the news, yet. Or maybe Jim Dolan figured that no one outside the Garden had heard about it, yet, and he wanted to keep the lid on it” (N.Y. POST, 1/26).