Police stake out Donaghy's home after ex-NBA ref received phone threats

Updated: July 24, 2007, 12:48 PM ET
Associated Press

Police staked out former NBA referee Tim Donaghy's home after he received two telephone threats following disclosure that the FBI is investigating him for betting on games he worked.

Both calls seemed to come from the same unidentified caller, Manatee County Sheriff's Office spokesman Randy Warren said.

"There is reason for us to keep an eye on his place and follow up," he said.

Three squad cars arrived at Donaghy's home in Bradenton, Fla., on Sunday after he received the calls, according to a sheriff's office report. Donaghy did not have a listed phone number at his home.

Donaghy is not expected to turn himself in until later this week or early next week.

When he does surrender to authorities, he will do so in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, according to a person familiar with the FBI investigation.

Though under investigation, Donaghy has not yet been charged with any crime.

NBA commissioner David Stern plans to hold a press conference Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that the NBA sent an eight-page pamphlet to all its referees entitled "Bad Bets: Understanding the NBA's Anti Gambling Rules." In it, it confirms to officials that they are prohibited from gambling or placing bets of any time.

A person with knowledge of the FBI investigation said the NBA was unaware of the FBI investigation until after the NBA Finals. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the ongoing case.

According to a law enforcement official, authorities are examining whether the referee made calls to affect the point spread in games on which he or associates had wagered thousands of dollars over the past two seasons. The official spoke on condition of anonymity, because he wasn't authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation.

The referee had a gambling problem and was approached by low-level mob associates through an acquaintance, the official said.

He is the only referee, at this point, under investigation, according to a law enforcement official, but others outside the NBA are expected to be charged in the betting probe.

The New York Daily News, citing unidentified law enforcement sources, reported Sunday that Donaghy will cooperate with authorities and possibly name other officials and players involved in the betting scandal. On Monday, the newspaper reported former neighbors of Donaghy in Pennsylvania said they were approached more than a year ago by a private investigator they believed was hired by the NBA to check into Donaghy's gambling habits.

Kit Antsey, a real estate agent in West Chester, Pa., who helped Donaghy buy a home, told The Daily News a private investigator contacted him 18 months ago and asked him whether Donaghy bet on sports and at an Atlantic City casino.

Donaghy was an NBA official for 13 years. He officiated 68 games in the 2005-06 season and 63 games in 2006-07, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. He also worked 20 playoff games, including five last season -- Pistons-Magic on April 23; Warriors-Mavericks on April 27; Suns-Lakers on April 29; Nets-Raptors on May 4; and Spurs-Suns on May 12.

In Bradenton, Fla., on Saturday, a woman came to the door of the home where Donaghy lives and shouted through the door: "We have no comment."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press