( 4UMF NEWS ) NBA Players Union Under Investigation:
Once on the same side of the labor situation against the NBA, players union president Derek Fisher, left, and union executive director Billy Hunter, right, now have opposing positions which are coming to light the same week that the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan has the union under investigation.
According to Bloomberg News citing two people with direct knowledge of the situation, embattled union executive director Billy Hunter was alerted by subpoena Wednesday of the investigation into their business practices.
“The NBPA will cooperate fully with the government’s investigation,” the union said in a statement.
The nature of the investigation was undisclosed.
Just last week, the union’s executive committee voted 8-0 to oust union president Derek Fisher, who demanded a review of business practices even though an audit was conducted in February.
Fisher wasn’t specific about his issues with Hunter, who has several family members on the union’s payroll and working for companies for which the union outsources contract work. He has said he wants an independent review and “a firm of the players’ choosing may conduct the review.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder guard had this to say exactly a week ago after a shootaround:
“Anyone or any group who questions my intentions in any decisions I’ve ever made that I felt were best for our players I think needs to step back for a moment and ask themselves this: Why would I try and ask certain questions and call into review the association that I’m the president of unless I thought there were some serious questions that needed to be answered, things that I, as president, aren’t satisfied with?”
Three of Hunter’s relatives receive money from the NBPA, including two who are on the payroll.
- Hunter’s daughter, Robyn Hunter, is the NBPA’s director of player benefits and earns approximately $83,000, according to NBPA documents filed by the NBPA to the U.S. Department of Labor for the period July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011.
- Hunter’s daughter-in-law, Megan Inaba, is the NBPA’s director of special events and made $173,219 during the period, according to the NBPA’s labor report for that period.
- Hunter’s son, Todd Hunter, is a principal at Prim Capital, a financial planning and investment company based near Cleveland. The NBPA paid Prim Capital $576,824 from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011.
Also during the lockout, the NBPA retained the law firm of Steptoe and Johnson, which employs Hunter’s daughter Alexis Hunter, whose name appears on at least one court document filed on behalf of the NBPA during the lockout.
Bloomberg News reported this week that the union paid $4.8 million in total to Hunter’s family members and their professional firms since 2001, according to public records.
In issuing a no-confidence vote, the players association has accused Fisher of engaging in conduct that is “detrimental to the union.”
Now that the U.S. Attorney’s Office is doing an investigation, the union has appointed a six-member special committee of player representatives and executive committee members to oversee an internal inquiry that will include a financial audit, according to Bloomberg.
“It is no secret that in recent weeks, the leadership, finances and business practices of the NBPA have been questioned,” the union said in its statement. “Yesterday, the NBPA’s Executive Committee appointed a six-member Special Committee, consisting of members of the Executive Committee and other Player Representatives, to oversee an internal inquiry that will include a financial audit.