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Ref Karl Hess accused of using slur

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- The CEO of an Atlanta-based hotel management company and former chairman of the Wake Forest University board of trustees says a basketball referee aimed a slur at him during a game.

The News & Observer of Raleigh reports Mit Shah posted to Twitter that Atlantic Coast Conference referee Karl Hess targeted him during last Sunday's game between Wake Forest and Louisville. He says Hess told him he wanted to sit in his seat and watch Shah ref a game, calling Shah an ethnic slur.

Shah, who is of Indian descent, was born in New Jersey and grew up in Winston-Salem. He confirmed the comment to the newspaper but wasn't immediately available for additional comment Tuesday.

Hess declined to comment to The Associated Press.

ACC spokesman Brian Morrison said Tuesday that the league was aware of the situation and declined further comment.

Hess has been a controversial figure at ACC basketball games in the last two years, specifically games involving NC State.

In February 2012, former NC State basketball stars Tom Gugliotta and Chris Corchiani were ejected from their seats behind the scorer's table by Hess during a game in Raleigh. At the time, Hess told ACC officials that the former players weren't ejected for anything they said, but for "excessive demonstration on several calls." The league reviewed the incident and publicly reprimanded Hess.

The conference said Hess decided not to work the ACC tournament the next month, but the three officials who worked the opening game of that tournament wrote the letters "KH" on a small piece of tape attached to the side of their shoes. No other referees took such an action.

Last month, Hess worked an NC State game in Raleigh for the first time since he ejected Gugliotta and Corchiani. Fans booed him every time he made a call, and he further invited their ire when he called a technical foul on NC State coach Mark Gottfried barely 4 minutes into the game against Wofford.

The game came down to a last-second shot that counted for Wofford and one that came just after the buzzer for the Wolfpack. Fans threw trash at Hess as he left the court.