Report: Billy Hunter's family paid
Amid news that National Basketball Players Association president Derek Fisher has been asked to resign after asking for a review of union finances, a Bloomberg report says public records show union executive director Billy Hunter's family members and their businesses have been paid almost $4.8 million by the union since 2001.
Hunter's daughter and daughter-in-law work for the union, another daughter is special counsel at a law firm used by the association and his son is a principal at a financial planning and investment firm that was paid more than $45,000 per month the last fiscal year to run the union's financial awareness program and advise on investments, the report states, citing U.S. Labor Department filings.
Former baseball union leader Marvin Miller told Bloomberg he doesn't think any of the activity is illegal but he said: "It's not something I would do."
Fisher rejected a call to resign as president. The NBPA said in a statement on Friday the executive committee voted 8-0 this week that it had lost confidence in Fisher's ability to lead.
"I, along with many others, are extremely disappointed with the Executive Committee," Fisher said Friday in a statement. "Their demand for my resignation and their need to protect the NBPA management and their own best interests instead of protecting the players we were elected to serve is unfortunate."
Fisher, who recently signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder after playing most of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, has been the union's president since 2006. He led players during the negotiations on a new collective bargaining agreement this offseason.
As the battle escalates, Hunter has hired a public relations firm and has called for a player representative conference call in an attempt to oust Fisher, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher on Friday morning.
Union spokesman Dan Wasserman told Bloomberg the organization is aware of Hunter's family having positions with the organization.
"Billy answered those questions to our satisfaction, was very open and candid with us, and we were satisfied, and again, the players were disappointed because Derek has yet to address us," Evans said, according to Bloomberg.
The union constitution allows Hunter to hire and set salaries for staff and advisers, according to Bloomberg.
According to a 2011 Labor Department filing cited by Bloomberg, Hunter made $2.39 million in salary that year.
His son Todd's company, Prim Capital Corp., has made almost $3 million from the union since 2005.
His daughter Alexis has worked for two law firms that have been on the union payroll. From 2007 to '11 she worked for Washington-based Howrey LLP, and the firm made over $380,000 from doing work for the union in that time period.
She moved on to Steptoe & Johnson LLP, and that firm represented the union against the NBA in litigation during the lockout, with Alexis Hunter serving as the attorney of record.
Records were not yet available showing how much the firm was paid by the union.
Hunter's daughter Robyn is the union's benefits director and has an annual salary of $82,954, filings accessed by Bloomberg show. She has been paid more than $200,000 by the union since 2009.
Finally, Todd Hunter's wife, Megan Inaba, is the union's director of special events, but has worked for the union since 2001, before she was married to Todd Hunter. She made $173,219 in 2011 and has earned almost $1.2 million at the union in her tenure there.
Fisher sent a letter earlier this week to player reps informing them the union's executive committee had decided the NBPA should undergo a business review, according to one Eastern Conference player representative. Several executive committee members, however, were surprised by the tone of the letter because the decision was not unanimous, another source said.
According to several sources, Hunter then contacted each committee member and convinced them the union already undergoes a regular internal audit and that Fisher's suggestion was both redundant and a personal attack on Hunter's leadership.
The committee, sources say, reversed course on the business review and, as an added measure, agreed to ask Fisher to step down.
Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin and The Associated Press was used in this report.