EXCLUSIVE: NEW YORK — NBA referee Tim Donaghy made repeated phone calls to a second referee at the same time he provided inside information to professional gamblers during the course of the 2006-2007 season, according to court documents and phone records obtained by FOXNews.com.
The records show Donaghy placed 134 calls to referee Scott Foster — more than the 126 calls Donaghy made to his bookie — between October 2006 and April 2007, the period during which he has confessed to either betting on games or passing on game information to gamblers. The majority of the phone calls lasted no more than two minutes and occurred prior to and after games Donaghy officiated and on which he admits wagering.
With the exception of 150 calls Donaghy placed to Thomas Martino, to whom he says he provided “picks” to win games and who was the middleman between the disgraced referee and a bookie named James Battista, the ex-ref phoned no one more than he called Foster. During this period, the most calls Donaghy made to any other referee were 13.
It’s unclear what information was exchanged during the calls between Foster and Donaghy, who is awaiting sentencing later this month in federal court after reaching a plea deal in the case. Federal prosecutors in the case declined to comment on this report. But former federal prosecutors not involved in the investigation say the frequency and duration of the calls, as well as the days they took place, are suspicious.
The new information may call into question insistent claims by NBA Commissioner David Stern that Donaghy was a “rogue, isolated criminal” acting on his own, without the cooperation of any other referees or league officials.
Donaghy has countercharged that the NBA is rife with corruption, and has even accused some league executives of game-fixing during the playoffs. Stern has not wavered, dismissing the claims and calling Donaghy a “singing, cooperating witness” seeking a shorter prison term.
The conversations with Foster and others have led authorities to suspect the NBA betting scandal goes beyond Donaghy, sources close to the investigation told FOXNews.com.
Law enforcement sources close to the case say the FBI has investigated anyone who showed up in Donaghy’s phone records. In a statement Friday, Tim Frank, NBA Vice President of Basketball Communications, said, 'Lawrence Pedowitz's independent review is ongoing." (Pedowitz, a former Chief of the Criminal Division in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, was named by Stern last year to head the league's investigation.) The NBA says it is not aware of any further criminal investigation ongoing in the case.
Calls between Foster, 41, and Donaghy, also 41, took place immediately before and after 54 of the 57 games Donaghy officiated from the beginning of the 2006-2007 season until mid-March, when his role in the gambling operation apparently ended. Records also show a vast majority of the calls came in the hours before or after games officiated by Donaghy or Foster.
Donaghy’s phone records for one of those days, Dec. 30, obtained by Fox News, reveal the following:
— 10:34 a.m. – Donaghy calls Foster.
— 10:35 a.m. – Donaghy calls another referee.
— 10:36 a.m. – Donaghy calls Martino, the “middleman” between him and his bookie.
— 10:39 a.m. – Donaghy calls Foster.
— 5:15 p.m. – Donaghy calls Martino.
— 5:23 p.m. – Donaghy calls Martino.
— 7 p.m. – Donaghy referees game between the Miami Heat and the Orlando Magic. The Magic win in a rout, 97-68.
— 8 p.m. – Foster referees a game between the Toronto Raptors and the Memphis Grizzlies in Memphis. The Grizzlies win 110-104. Foster and Donaghy speak 12 minutes after the game.
— 11:27 p.m. – Foster and Donaghy speak for at least the fourth time of the day.
— 11:38 p.m. – Foster and Donaghy speak for at least the fifth time of the day.
The following day, Donaghy spoke with Foster at 1:37 p.m., for two minutes. One minute later, at 1:40 p.m., Donaghy spoke to Martino, also for two minutes.