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Donaghy Conspirator Details NBA Gambling Scam

Written by:
Guest
Published on:
Nov/23/2009

New York Post Staff

Disgraced NBA referree Tim Donaghy talked to a professional gambler before every game he officiated during a months-long betting conspiracy, the gambler tells HBO's "Real Sports" in an interview to air tomorrow night.

And he says NBA still has never talked to him.

"Every game he officiated, we talked," Jimmy Battista says of Donaghy in a preview of the segment provided by HBO. "We bet every game. Why stop?"

Battista gives Gumbel a first-hand account of how they hatched the scheme, saying the men won 37 out of 47 games they bet on during the 2006-07 season.

Despite the controversy which led to both Donaghy and Battista spending time in prison, Battista tells Gumbel the NBA has never spoken to him about it.

"Nope. Never contacted me," Battista says.

An NBA report has cited a game between the Pistons and Nets on Dec. 16, 2006, as one that seems fishy. The Nets were favored by 1.5 points, and the game was close until the Pistons pulled away in the final minute and covered the spread, winning 90-82.

"Real Sports" says it reviewed a tape of the game, and claims Donaghy made three times as many calls against the hometown Nets than he did against the Pistons.

"I don't remember, to be honest with you. That game did not stand out in my mind," Battista says. "I just know that we covered the spread and won."

On Tuesday's 10 p.m. show, Battista tells Gumbel about a dinner in December 2006 when he and Donaghy set up a system where the referee would give inside information to Battista, a high school friend and professional gambler.

Battista says he capitalized on the fact his high school friend Donaghy was losing while betting on other sports, sucking him in by giving him winners and refusing to collect on Donaghy's losses.

"I sucked him in, and I'll say that because that's what it was," Battista says. "How I got him in was that he didn't have to pay on the losses. I just paid him on the wins. He lost? Don't worry about it. I got it. You win? How many apples are in the basket. Cha-ching."

The pair -- using Donaghy's inside information -- apparently was raking in the cash on NBA games for four months until a law enforcement inquiry derailed them and eventually ended in prison terms for the duo and associate Tommy Martino.

Battista would not tell HBO that Donaghy actually fixed the games.

"Uhh. No comment. But I will say that he wasn't getting paid unless we covered the spread," Battista says.

Donaghy served 13 months and was released on Nov. 4; Battista, who says he never cooperated with authorities, served 15 months and was recently released. In the inteerview, he admits to susbtance abuse problems.

Donaghy is looking for a publisher for "Blowing The Whistle," a book detailing his time in the NBA, after Random House pulled out.

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