SBJ/October 10-16, 2011/Labor and Agents

NBPA’s labor negotiation costs ran $600K in year leading up to lockout

A recent filing by the National Basketball Players Association shows that the union spent about $600,000 on a variety of labor and negotiating costs in the year leading up to the July 1 lockout.

That $600,000 includes legal, consulting and public relations fees for the year ended June 30, according to the NBPA’s LM-2 report, an annual report all labor unions are required to file with the Department of Labor.

Included in the labor negotiation expenses was $191,300 paid to Navigant Consulting, which lists union economist Kevin Murphy as a principal.

The union also paid $50,000 in legal fees to Dewey & LeBoeuf and $70,000 in legal fees to Howrey LLP, according to the filing, which the NBPA submitted late last month. Dewey & LeBoeuf employs Jeffrey Kessler, the NBPA’s outside legal counsel, who accompanies NBPA Executive Director Billy Hunter to all major negotiation sessions. Howrey LLP, which dissolved in March, was a law firm that provided legal analysis to the NBPA on contract issues, a source said.

Sources said they expect the amount owed to Dewey & LeBoeuf, which also served as the NFL Players Association’s outside counsel during the NFL lockout, to increase and that the $50,000 figure may be a matter of the timing of when the NBPA was billed or paid the firm as of June 30.

Not mentioned in the LM-2 filing is the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson, which has served as the NBPA’s outside counsel in the unfair labor practices charge that the union filed against the NBA in May. A source said the law firm was not mentioned in the LM-2 because of the timing of when it billed the union and was paid for services rendered.

The union also listed $131 million to be held for players as a lockout fund, up from $99 million in 2009.

The NBA paid the NBPA about $28 million last year in licensing fees, with the league paying the union about $6.9 million per quarter, along with another $9 million in logo use revenue for a total of $37 million in licensing and logo revenue, about the same a last year.

Hunter earned $2,509,189 in total compensation in 2010, compared with $2.4 million in 2009.

The union reported total assets of $210 million, up from $170 million in 2009. Total liabilities were listed at $141 million compared with $107.7 million in 2009.

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