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U.S. Attorney’s office opens investigation of NBA players union

Apr 27, 2012, 3:43 PM EDT

NBPA Meet To Discuss Current CBA Offer Getty Images

The NBA players union just went from the frying pan — a call by president Derek Fisher for a review of all business practices that was rejected by the executive committee — to the fire.

The United States Attorney’s Office in Manhattan has opened an investigation of the union, reports Bloomberg.

Union Executive Director Billy Hunter was notified of the investigation by subpoena for documents on April 25, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation. The people were granted anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the investigation.

“The NBPA will cooperate fully with the government’s investigation,” the union statement said.

The union has appointed a six-member special committee that consists of players’ representatives and executive committee members to oversee an internal inquiry that will include a financial audit.

Previous reports had shown a lot of family connections from Hunter to the union — family members working for the union, financial and law firms with Hunter family members getting union business, all to the tune of $4.5 million in the last decade. There is a spider web of connections from the union and relatives of Hunters.

That in and of itself is not illegal — Hunter said his relatives were qualified and said the union’s executive committee was well aware of the connections — but it raises a lot of ethical red flags.

Flags that apparently caught the eye of the United States Attorney’s office. This is spiraling downhill fast.

  1. somekat - Apr 27, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    Saw this coming

    So Kurt, after spending the entire summer defending the noble union against the evil owners, whos stance was generally “our deal isn’t bad, it’s their own union putting the screws to them”, now that it appears you had it backwards, wehre are the 8,000,000 articles about how horrible Hunter is?

    They were bi-minutely about Stern during the lockout

    Hunter is a scumbag, who morally should be in jail. Unfortunately, legally, he won’t be. I don’t see how those idiot players keep on paying him and everyone with a slight relation to him after this though.

    • chiadam - Apr 28, 2012 at 8:57 AM

      One has nothing to do with the other. The owners’ proposal was sh*t then. It still is now. It’s probably the worst collectively bargained deal in the recent history of American sports. The fact that Hunter is a weasel does not suddenly make the owners’ garbage offer look better.

      • gmen4life33 - Apr 28, 2012 at 11:34 AM

        What are you talking about, NBA players have the best deal (maybe besides MLB) and NBA owners actually lose money some years. Fully guaranteed contracts, great max deals, high minimum salary, no franchise tag of any sorts. Again, what are you talking about?

  2. diabloryno - Apr 27, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    How do the players even let Hunter’s actions get past them?! It took them this long for someone to say something?!

    • marcusfitzhugh - Apr 27, 2012 at 5:17 PM

      Many of the players may not look beyond their own paycheck. Someone tells a new player that he has to pay x-dollars into the union – just like everyone else- and the new guy is so busy being happy about his x-million per season deal that he doesn’t notice. By the time he gets around to wondering “where did all those union dues go?”, he’s an ex-NBA player.

      Even now, after the strike, it sounds like most players are satisfied with their current union representation. There is a reason for that. Many of us went to college. We knew the jocks weren’t the smartest guys on campus (I’m not calling them stupid, just as a group, they weren’t generally considered advanced degree material). That’s why the US Attorney’s office is involved. Shiny objects plus dull minds can equal empty pockets. Three-card monte anyone?

  3. chicagofan - Apr 27, 2012 at 6:56 PM

    The executive committee should be asked to resign for allowing this degree of nepotism.The players should question their judgment and Hunter’s.

  4. sunsation3413 - Apr 27, 2012 at 7:48 PM

    Hopefully the players will now see the truth about Hunter and will demand his resignation.

  5. thomaskouns - Apr 27, 2012 at 8:29 PM

    What a joke that Chris Paul who is on the players committee was nominated to be lead player representative and he said he was ‘honored.’

    The equivalent of a board member from Enron being made chairman of the board after a Chapter 11 reorganization.

    This entire incident is part of the reason why I have had less interesting the NBA over the past decade. It’s hard to root for and respect guys who can’t get their own house in order.

    They deserved to get their ass kicked by the NBA in the collective bargaining agreement. I only wish they had done away with guaranteed contracts in the process for not all but a lot of guys who start hitting the bong everyday after they get big money which theyno longer have to earn.

  6. tubal22 - Apr 27, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    Time for the Hunter family’s money tree to be cut down.

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