SBD/April 26, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Execs From Investment Firm Hired By Billy Hunter Charged With Defrauding NBPA Of $3M

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Cleveland-based Prim Capital Corp. Managing Dir JOSEPH LOMBARDO and Dir CAROLYN KAUFMAN were “charged Thursday with attempting to defraud" the NBPA of $3M, according to Mitch Lawrence of the N.Y. DAILY NEWS. The investment firm once employed former NBPA Exec Dir BILLY HUNTER’s son, TODD. Neither Billy Hunter "nor his son" were named in the charges. In its “capacity as the primary outside investment firm for the players from 2001-2013, Prim and the union entered into a five-year contract deal, at $602,000 per year in 2011.” The contract contained a “highly-unusual provision that it could not be cancelled for any reason" by the NBPA and was "allegedly signed" by late NBPA General Counsel GARY HALL, who died in March '11. But the investigation “revealed that the signature of Hall was not authentic, while also finding that the signature of one other NBAPA employee, who was not identified, was also forged” (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/26). On Long Island, Zachary Dowdy notes Prim Capital was contracted to “provide various financial services" to the NBPA (NEWSDAY, 4/26). CBSSPORTS.com’s Ken Berger wrote, "The mystery surrounding the alleged contract was one of many issues raised in an exhaustive review of former union chief Billy Hunter's leadership and governance published in January by the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.” Prosecutors said that Hall's signature on the contract “was not authentic and the contract was created months after his death with a signature stamp created at Lombardo's direction.” The Paul-Weiss firm found that the other NBPA signature on the contract alleged to be forged “was that of then-director of player programs PURVIS SHORT.” Lombardo’s relationship with the NBPA via Prim “began before Hunter became executive director” (CBSSPORTS.com, 4/25).
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