Tim Donaghy returns to the spotlight in Netflix documentary – but something’s missing

LAS VEGAS — By January 2007, Jimmy Bautista’s NBA bets had attracted the attention of the world’s heavyweight gamblers, who linked referee Tim Donaghy to the action.

“Only a fool,” wrote Dr. Sean Patrick Griffin, “would have overlooked Batista’s ridiculously obvious success.”

Griffin’s three-year descent into offshore betting stemmed from his curiosity about the Mafia’s involvement in sports betting stemming from FBI wiretaps of the Gambino crime family.

Donaghy was mentioned on the tapes. The betting scandal headlines rocked the NBA. One of his officials is dirty, film at 11. This, though, represents only one knot in the tangled web.

Griffin, a criminal justice professor at The Citadel and a former Philadelphia cop, tackled the mess in his 2011 best-selling book, “Gaming the Game.”

He details the origins of the scheme involving Donaghy, Battista and Tommy Martino, one-time classmates at Cardinal O’Hara High in Springfield, Pennsylvania, and how Battista manipulated the global betting markets. .

After killing his fan and dragging out the legal process, Batista hopes to testify and expose Donaghy’s mountain of lies. However, Griffin details why Batista, the professor’s main “gaming” rudder, chose to apply.

Griffin’s impressive work is relevant again because on August 30, Netflix is ​​set to air “Untold: Operation Flagrant Foul,” about the scandal. It mentions interviews with Donaghy, Battista and Martino – not Griffin.

He told me Monday that those producers called him, they talked for maybe 90 minutes and Griffin provided relevant notes and possible lines of inquiry.

But the man who knows more about the case than anyone isn’t on the show and won’t be watching.

“I have incredibly low expectations for anything they produce,” Griffin said by phone from Charleston, South Carolina. “People know I have documents and files, and they constantly ask me questions they don’t like the answers to.

“And it makes them crazy. They just go ahead, say whatever they want, anyway. They just put out whatever they’re going to put out without evidence. Netflix, to me, is the next iteration of that.

No mice.

Donaghy published a book in June 2010, nine months before “Gaming”.

Guess which contains footnotes, source notes, cross-referenced facts from many authorities and sources, and thorough due diligence by a forensic expert with a Ph.D. in Administration of Justice from Penn State?

Griffin became so acutely and repeatedly aware that the former referee was full of fabrications and myths that he would leave Donaghy in the ludicrous shadows of his imagination.

“Don’t forget that I got into Donaghy’s story not realizing it. [b.s.]Griffin, 52, said. “I was just researching it. I’m one of those idiots who bought Donaghy’s book.

“Once I realized I’d be dealing with these foreign guys who might as well be your next-door neighbors, I was overwhelmed by the whole social thing.”

It amazes Griffin how the media, especially sports talk radio, has provided Donaghy with a platform for his sensational fodder.

“It’s ridiculous. He gives the media a press packet, and they read him questions, like it’s a PR campaign,” Griffin said. “Nobody knows it’s a hoax. I’ll never figure it out.”

Batista, who called Donaghy a “pathological liar” with extreme greed, told Griffin, “I knew Timmy’s demand for money was greater than his ability to get it. He was.” [expletive] Smart and believed that everyone owed him the world.

But Batista refused to yell at Donaghy.

“The feds wanted to talk to me and go against it, but I wasn’t going to do it,” Batista told Griffin. “It could have helped me and hurt Timmy all the way, [but] I was not a rat.”

Almost soulless

Donaghy’s role would have come under much scrutiny if Battista had gone to trial.

In high school, during trips to the Jersey Shore, Donaghy would get drunk and break into neighbors’ houses and steal things. Batista called him “a strange, prejudiced man.”

Batista said Donaghy and Martino were close in high school because they both liked to smoke cigarettes. When Donaghy became an NBA referee, it continued, with occasional hacks.

Griffin documented how Donaghy admitted to entering Villanova, in part, to have someone take his SATs for him. Donaghy also cheated on tests at Villanova, Martino said.

Dust-ups with neighbors (who called Donaghy “a flaming lunatic”), an attack on a mail carrier and the mayor of Westchester, Pennsylvania, also noted Donaghy’s “extremely aggressive personality”.

Donaghy once threw a dead, maggot-infested bird into fellow golfer John Mantella’s bag. “No one wanted to golf with him,” Mantella said. “I can’t say one good thing about him. I believe the boy was almost soulless.

NBA commissioner David Stern barred Donaghy from working the second round of the 2005 playoffs because of the “extreme volume” (Stern’s words) of such reports. One more incident, and Stern would fire Donaghy.

Batista overhears Donaghy making racist NBA comments. The architect of the scandal, Batista was addicted to various pills and cocaine, yet he was a straight shooter, as evidence and others confirmed in the most minute detail.

He documented a 78% Donaghy win rate and paid him $201,000 for his “tips”, just one cog in Batista’s tentacles, which reached Asia, Europe and Vegas.

“Just money, just business.” Batista told Griffin. “It’s not like I was laughing at his calls if they help us, or angry at his calls if they hurt us.

“The ‘Timmy Elvis Donagy thing’ was just a small part of everything I was doing, and I didn’t want anyone to know. So I didn’t really have time to focus on it, enjoy it. Let’s enjoy.

Griffin unwrapped the onion.

“I don’t want to say the NBA scandal was easy,” he said, “but once I got access to the U.S. attorney’s offices and FBI agents, they were not only confirming Rather than explaining what Batista has said.”

The contract

Battista and Martino were tight, and on December 12, 2006, they drove to the Marriott at Philadelphia International Airport for an exploratory meeting with Donaghy.

Donaghy didn’t like being bet by former St. Joseph hoopster Jake Concannon, but he couldn’t have known that Batista had been tracking his NBA bets with Concannon since 2003, when Batista was in Curacao.

That’s when Batista started calling Donaghy “Elvis,” the king of predicting NBA games — including his own, Batista told Griffin. Donaghy was making terrible bets every other game.

Donaghy arranged for Martino to meet at the Marriott. This was Donaghy’s 13th NBA season. He had an unhappy marriage, four daughters and a $260,000 salary.

“I knew what it would mean,” Batista told Griffin, “if I had an NBA referee.”

To trick him into winning the football selection, Donaghy sent Batista a Lakers jersey signed by Kobe Bryant. At the Marriott, Batista thanked Donaghy for the gift.

As they left, Batista asked Donaghy who he liked the next night, when the 76ers were playing host to the Celtics in a game Donaghy would do. Donaghy said Boston is “going to beat” the Sixers.

The Celtics were favored by 1.5 points. Just before tipoff, Battista bet $60,000 on Boston, pushing the line to 3.5 points. The Celtics won 101-81.

The next night, the three meet at Martino’s house to settle terms. Batista rolled $7,000 in a rubber band — two for the Celtics tip, five as a signing bonus — for Donaghy on the edge of Martino’s couch.

“For our new partnership.” Batista told Donaghy.

In his book, Donaghy wrote, “I knew I was in a bad, hard place. . . . But my gambling instincts were taking over, and I was very excited.”

Sometimes, Bautista told Griffin, Donaghy would call Martino from an NBA locker room to find out the spread of a game he was in moments before it started.

Batista envisioned the arrangement lasting 20 years. Twenty months later, the trio avoided trial and awaited sentencing by U.S. District Judge Carol Bagley Ammon in Brooklyn.

Donaghy faced up to 25 years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

“Tim Donaghy was unwittingly putting himself in harm’s way,” Griffin wrote. “Tim may not have known how influential Jimmy has become, or how Batista’s words and actions now influence bettors and bookies around the world.”

Strictly defined

Griffin has already published a bestseller in 2005 with “Black Brothers, Inc.” About the violent rise and fall of Philadelphia’s black mafia.

So when “gaming” appeared at No. 2 on Nielsen’s list in mid-September 2011, he knew something was off when his royalties came under scrutiny. His publisher, Barricade Books, had problems.

“Embarrassing,” Griffin said. “Funny.”

It cost Griffin to produce the book. A few years ago, he bought the rights and the original digital files. He had the artwork. He is publishing it independently.

Griffin has a strong determination. He works seven days a week. He’s been working on “Something Bigger,” as sung by Tom Petty, for 10 years, and his upcoming release will be a bombshell.

“Gaming the game,” sure, is important to understanding the NBA scandal and how betting money zips around the world on sports.

Martino also wrote a book in 2019. “While it’s also lacking, nothing compares to Donaghy’s book for comic relief,” Griffin said.

The FBI investigated the infamous referee’s claims of involvement by other NBA officials, with negative results. “It would have been great for me, great for the sale, just out of selfishness,” Griffin said. “[But] There’s nothing there.”

Griffin never spoke to Donaghy. Twice, Griffin said, he appeared at a television studio to participate in documentaries in which Donaghy was scheduled to appear.

However, both times Donaghy did not show.

“I’m not naive,” Griffin said. “I can imagine the TV producers were looking for an on-air mix-up. I accepted because I’m an academic; we argue for a living. But it’s not really an argument. That bothers me. Is.

“It’s not a he-said, he-said story.”

Donaghy, Griffin said, distracts and distracts.

“I just focus on the evidence, his batting records, the number of things I can figure out, the funny things he says in his book, like, ‘I agree with everything Judge Amon says. I agree.’

“Really? They said there was no extortion, no conspiracy. you were more guilty than others. Do you agree with all this? he is not [b.s.] The story you have been telling for the past 10 years.

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