The Official Website of Best-Selling Author Sean Patrick Griffin

Donaghy claims (post-November 2009) for which there is no supporting evidence

[The following are largely presented in order of appearance in his book, Personal Foul (VTi, 2009)]

Depending on one’s perspective I am either being polite or professional in my categorization above, since I have rather informed opinions that run counter to much of what Donaghy claims are offered below.  However, rather than to call them factually incorrect and thus include in my other analysis, I opted to keep this as conservative as possible out of fairness to Donaghy and merely state these are “unsupported” claims. 
“I didn’t realize that Jack was telling other people about our unholy alliance, but he was” (p. 5).
According to whom, and how would Donaghy know?
“Jack placed our bets with a bookie named Pete Ruggieri, who was excited to say the least when Jack told him about me.  I can just imagine the look on Ruggieri’s face when Jack told him he was getting his picks from an NBA referee” (p. 5, emphases added).
How does Donaghy know that Concannon explicitly told Ruggieri about his deal with Donaghy, let alone about Ruggieri’s supposed reaction?  What if, instead, Concannon never told Ruggieri about Donaghy and Ruggieri simply discovered that Concannon’s betting pattern was different on games Donaghy officiated? 
“as usually happens in situations like this, Ruggieri was so giddy over his newfound good fortune that he had to share it with someone else.  He gave the information to…Battista” (p. 5).
Again, how does Donaghy know this?  According to whom?
“[Battista] and his crew…initially placing [placed bets of] $25,000 a game on my picks” (p. 5).
How does Donaghy know how much Battista bet?  How would he know this?  By the way, what “crew”? 
“in early November 2006, I just said, ‘Jack, I don’t feel comfortable doing this anymore.  Let’s quit.  We’re never going to do this again” (p. 6)
See Gaming the Game for a detailed analysis of this time period and the context for Donaghy’s betting (on NBA games, including those he officiated, and on other sports).
“Jack understood, but then word traveled down the line that I was no longer making picks.  Jack told Ruggieri, who in turn told [Battista]” (p. 6).
Again (assuming for the purpose of this discussion that Donaghy stopped betting with Concannon), how would he know about any of these conversations?
“[Battista] wasn’t messing around when he placed bets on my picks.  He started out at $10,000 per game, but quickly upped it to $50,000 when he realized I was the king of basketball prognosticators…Nobody in Philly was big enough to handle the amount of his bets, and word on the street quickly spread that [Battista] had something going on” (pp. 126-27).
How would Donaghy have any idea how much Battista was betting?  Let’s assume, for the sake of this discussion, Donaghy’s figures are accurate.  Why would he believe “nobody in Philly was big enough to handle” a maximum bet of $50,000?  According to whom?
“I knew full well who the target was” (p. 137).
He did?  How would Donaghy know how the investigation started, much less who the ultimate target was?  Donaghy, of course, assumes that HE was the target.
“After 45 minutes, it was all on the table.  I just leaned back in my chair and waited for the questions, but Moe, Larry, and Curly [federal law enforcement officials] just sat there, mouths agape in total shock.  These guys had interviewed hundreds, if not thousands, of criminal suspects, but perhaps never one like this” (pp. 155-56, emphasis added).
Is Donaghy serious?  How would he know ANY of this?
“At this stage of the investigation, they were doing nothing more than fishing.  Oh, they had suspicions and some phone calls, but that was pretty much it” (p. 156).
And Donaghy would know all of this how?
“They probably expected me to do the dance and talk in circles, never quite admitting to any wrongdoing.  That’s how it usually went with confidence men, scam artists, and low-level knuckleheads – lots of talk, nothing to say.  Well, not this time, boys!” (p. 156, emphasis added)
Unlike the other examples discussed thus far, I am sure this one is based on Donaghy’s extensive research.  My goodness.
“[Battista] and Tommy knew that I was the ultimate prize for the prosecutor…” (p. 185).
They did?  How does Donaghy know who “the ultimate prize for the prosecutor” was in the first place, much less what his co-conspirators believed about the matter?  Of course, since Donaghy never knew how the probe unfolded, he couldn’t possibly have known how and why certain parties other than Donaghy represented “the ultimate prize for the prosecutor”.
“A deal for [Battista’s] guilty plea was tentatively reached, but at the last minute, [Battista] backed out.  It was a strange development, one that usually irritates a prosecutor and forces him to quickly shift gears and get ready for trial” (p. 202, emphasis added).
How does he know any of this?  Has he ever been a prosecutor [or even interviewed one]?  Did he ever do a study or a poll?  Re: getting ready for trial, the prosecutors were already getting ready for trial – which Donaghy knew because he was being prepped by then (and which, comically, Donaghy writes a few sentences later in his book). 
“The strangest aspect of [Battista’s] change of heart was the lack of any real prospect of winning at trial” (p. 202). 
Oh, really?  How would Donaghy know?  Did Donaghy know the government’s evidence, and the weaknesses in the case?  The elements of the offense, the legal hurdles?  What about the annoying but very real issue of venue?  Did Donaghy know the government witness list?  Did Donaghy know the government’s assessment of his credibility and of how he might do on the stand?  How about the government’s assessment of how Jack McMahon might do on cross-examination?  This is but the latest example of Donaghy talking from a perspective in which he can’t know all the facts.
“Both Tommy and I were prepped and ready to go” (p. 202). 
How would he, Tim Donaghy, know if he was prepped and “ready to go” in terms of being a witness in a federal trial?  Better still, how would he know about Martino?
“Just when I thought [Battista’s] behavior couldn’t get any more bizarre, his lawyer, Jack McMahon, turned up the heat and took the game to a new level.  In a surprising statement to the press, McMahon upped the ante and sounded like he was daring the prosecutors to take them to trial, where he would get the chance to question me on the witness stand.  ‘I look forward to [Donaghy] testifying for a very, very long time,’ [McMahon] boldly proclaimed.  That kind of bravado by the captain of a sinking ship is typically unheard of in legal circles” (p. 203). 
Again, how would Donaghy know what is “typically unheard of in legal circles”?!  Besides, a defense lawyer shouting that his client is innocent and that he looks forward to putting his accuser on the stand is “unheard of”? 
“During the entire three-month period I was making picks for [Battista], I earned $42,000.  I gave $15,000 to Tommy with the agreement that I would get it back…That never happened” (p. 131).
Donaghy’s co-conspirators, including fellow cooperating witness Tommy Martino, argue that Donaghy grossly understates his illicit profiteering.  The issues of (1) how much Donaghy was paid (2) on how many games (3) and why are each discussed in detail in Gaming the Game.

Within this collection of unsupported Donaghy assertions, there exists a subset of Donaghy claims which entails something I have noted previously, though without offering examples.  When I first read Donaghy’s book, I wrote, “It is remarkable (perhaps “troubling” is more apt) how often [Donaghy] pretends to know the opinions, beliefs, or motives of other parties, ranging from prison officials to NBA officials to federal law enforcement officials to co-conspirators and their respective defense attorneys and so on.  He has no basis beyond supposition for so much of what he writes, and there are common threads to most of his assumptions: he inflates his importance or significance; and he ascribes ill motives and/or conspiracy theories to the parties being discussed.  Concerning the latter theme, it is almost never the case that the more simplistic, less sinister possible explanation is accepted much less promoted.”

Here, finally, are a few examples of what I was/am describing (also see, for example, my comments re: Donaghy’s claims of NBA influence on the U.S. Attorney’s Office found within my assessment of Donaghy’s factually-dubious claims, where he engages in the sort of behavior noted here).
“The headline read, ‘Dirty Ref’s “Sideline” Gal Eyed by Feds.’  The source for the story was anonymous, but I had a good idea who it was – Tommy Martino.  Tommy and I had dinner together at Cheryl’s restaurant back in January.  Tommy was in Phoenix to deliver my [$10,000] and have a night on the town before heading back to Philly.  I introduced him to Cheryl and the three of us had some drinks as Tommy told one hilarious story after another…If Tommy was the source, it wasn’t hard to discern what his reason for talking to the Post was.  Reports of my cooperating with the FBI had been swirling for weeks, and the guilty plea confirmed my status as a cooperating witness…Boxed into a corner, Tommy’s last option was to strike back and attack my credibility. In typical fashion, he let the New York Post do his bidding.  It didn’t matter; Tommy did what he thought he had to do, for self-preservation, for spite, for whatever” (p. 200, emphasis added).
We’ll likely never truly know the source for the Post story referenced by Donaghy above, but there is, in my opinion, a far more likely source for the story than Tommy Martino speaking to a reporter.  The contents of the article are remarkably similar to those contained in Tommy’s Martino’s FBI interview transcripts.  That is, Martino described his understanding of the Donaghy-Cheryl Wolfe-Ruiz situation to the FBI, and thus it is quite possible that the Post’s Jana Winter simply gained access to (at least some of) the FBI’s Martino interview memos.  Importantly, it was Jana Winter who also broke stories on the scandal’s cast of characters and its timeline (as it was known at the time), and most notably on the phone records which disclosed Donaghy’s numerous calls to fellow NBA referee Scott Foster.  Each story required access to investigative files, and as such it is possible that it was Winter’s sources within federal law enforcement and not Tommy Martino which accounted for the story on Donaghy’s alleged girlfriend in Arizona.  It is likely the case that Donaghy never knew that Martino had cooperated with the FBI, much less that Martino detailed the Arizona trip for authorities.
“I wrote to warden (sic) Scott Fisher and asked for treatment.  In support of my request, I pointed to the widespread illegal gambling that was occurring in the institution and the temptation I was experiencing as a result…I mentioned that if treatment was not available, I would like to be transferred to a halfway house in Tampa so that I could reenter the treatment program in which I was previously enrolled…Scott Fisher had no intention on sending me to another facility…[he] was probably ready to move to a higher-security institution and a bigger paycheck… it probably would do [Warden Fisher’s] career little good to tell his superiors that he couldn’t keep me safe” (pp. 223-24, emphasis added). 
What is there to say about this narrative?
“I was the most high-profile inmate [Warden Fisher] encountered during his time in Pensacola” (p. 224).
For the last time (here, at least), according to whom?  How would Donaghy know this?