NBA Union Wants Fired Exec’s Family to Testify

     MANHATTAN (CN) — In a petition filed Wednesday, the players’ union for the National Basketball Association demanded depositions and documents from family members of a fired executive accused of nepotism.
     The National Basketball Players Association fired George William “Billy” Hunter from his position as executive director in February 2013, amidst allegations of nepotism, questionable spending and risky investments. Hunter had headed the NBPA since 1996.
     In the wake of his firing, Hunter sued the NBPA in California Superior Court for an alleged breach of contract arising from his termination, claiming the players’ union owed him more than $10 million.
     Hunter’s May 2013 lawsuit accused then-NBPA president Derek Fisher of colluding with team owners to displace Hunter as the union’s executive director.
     In connection with the NBPA’s defense against Hunter’s lawsuit and in support of its own counterclaims, the union issued subpoenas to Alexis Hunter, Robyn Hunter, Todd Hunter, and Megan Inaba.
     Wednesday’s petition, filed in New York County Supreme Court, called those family members of Hunter “beneficiaries of and/or knowledgeable about certain of the acts that gave rise to Hunter’s termination.”
     According to the petition to enforce subpoenas, only Alexis Hunter produced non-privileged responsive documents. The petition seeks court orders directing Robyn Hunter, Todd Hunter and Megan Inaba to produce all relevant, non-privileged documents, and for all four respondents to appear to give sworn deposition testimony in the first week of November 2016.
     The subpoenas seek communications between Hunter and his family members regarding his termination and his actions precipitating the firing, as well as details about fees paid by NBPA to companies that employed Hunter’s relatives.
     Hunter’s daughter Alexis was employed by two law firms — Howrey LLP and Steptoe & Johnson LLP — who provided legal services to the NBPA. The player’s association, under Hunter’s direction, paid a combined total of $1.75 million to the two firms, according to an investigative report.
     The independent report to a Special Committee of the National Basketball Players Association published in 2013 highlighted Hunter’s fiduciary misconduct and nepotism, including spending more than $80,000 in due diligence expenses while considering a multi-million dollar investment with ISN Bank, a failing financial institution, where his son Todd Hunter was a director.
     According to the 2013 report, Hunter hired his daughter Robyn, his nephew Hal Biagas and his best friend Gary Hall to work directly for the NBPA, and permitted Megan Inaba to remain a union employee after she became his daughter-in-law.
     The NBPA is represented in Wednesday’s petition by Christina Sarchio of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP in New York.
     NBPA attorney Thomas Kidera did not immediately return a request for comment Thursday afternoon.

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