Yahoo Sports Reports Hunter In '09 Wanted NBPA To Invest In Bank With Ties To Son
At the crux of Thunder G and NBPA President Derek Fisher's push for a review of NBPA Exec Dir Billy Hunter and the union's business practices is Fisher's concern over the "network of Hunter family members in positions of potential conflict and influence with NBPA business," and new information from an in-depth investigation by Wojnarowski & Getlin of YAHOO SPORTS indicates that Hunter in '09 "sought union investment” for a bank with “ties" to his son. In the aftermath of the U.S. banking crisis in '08, former NBAer and NBPA Treasurer Pat Garrity "had grown increasingly suspicious of an investment bank project that Hunter had been pitching" to the union's Exec Committee and player reps. For Garrity and "some peers in the NBPA, the investment made no sense." Sources said that Hunter had sought a $7M-$9M investment “from the union into Interstate Net Bank of Cherry Hill, N.J., a financial institution that federal and state banking regulators had slapped with debilitating 'cease-and-desist' orders." Garrity discovered information online that "left him feeling obligated to confront” Hunter, as Hunter's son, Todd, had a seat on the board of directors of Interstate Net Bank. Sources said that during the union's '09 meeting at the All-Star Game, Garrity asked Hunter several times, "Why didn't you disclose any of this?" Garrity did not receive a response and shortly left the NBPA board. Garrity "confirmed the description of events." Wojnarowski & Getlin wrote the potential conflicts "were far deeper and connective than Garrity realized at the time." A '10 ISN Bank letter to stockholders indicated that Cleveland-based Prim Capital, where Todd Hunter is a partner, "controlled 200,000 shares of ISN Bank stock." Before Fisher recently confronted Hunter and "demanded a review of the union's business and financial practices, Garrity had been the last player in a position of power to truly challenge the union's executive director." Labor filings from July 1, 2010-June 30, 2011 indicate that as NBAers "lost $400 million in salary during last summer's lockout -- and $3 billion over the course of the new 10-year collective bargaining agreement -- Billy Hunter, his family and the entities that employed them made approximately $3,430,953" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 4/25).
ONE BIG MESS: TRUE HOOP's Henry Abbott asked, "If this is an effort to oust Hunter, is that on behalf of somebody?" No one "seems to know anything solid about that, other than to speculate that Hunter ... will be tough to dislodge." Sources said that Hunter "will not step down anytime soon, even if holding on to his job requires a massive battle" (ESPN.com, 4/25). Meanwhile, Clippers G Chris Paul yesterday briefly addressed the power struggle between Hunter and Fisher, saying, "I don't have any perspective on it right now. I'm so locked in on the playoffs. ... I haven't been able to talk to anybody or know really too much what's going on." CBSSPORTS.com's Ken Berger noted as the "most prominent member of the committee that voted 8-0 last week that Fisher should resign as president amid his efforts to have an independent review of the union's business practices, Paul's voice matters." Fellow committee members have "mentioned Paul as a possible replacement for Fisher," and Paul said, "I'm honored, but I don't even think about that." As to what he would "like to see happen next in the battle for control of the NBPA," Paul said, "Not a clue. I just feel like it's messy right now" (CBSSPORTS.com, 4/25).