Hunter dismisses family members from NBPA staff

Revelations of nepotism have left Hunter clinging to his job. (Getty Images)

Billy Hunter has informed players that he's dismissed family members from the union staff and terminated a contract with his son's financial company in the wake of a scathing report that impugned the executive director's nepotism practices and conflicts of interest.

In a letter to a six-member special committee formed to oversee an independent review of the National Basketball Players Association's finances and business practices, Hunter said that he has secured the resignation of his daughter Robyn, the director of player benefits, and terminated a lucrative union contract with Prim Capital, the financial firm for which Hunter's son, Todd, is a director.

Robyn Hunter's last day on the union staff was Friday. His daughter-in-law, Megan Inaba, will remain with the union through All-Star weekend, where she is responsible for planning and organizing player events.

"Hopefully this decision will alleviate any concerns related to their employment," Hunter wrote in the letter, according to Bloomberg News, which first reported the firings. "These measures are being taken although the report noted that both of them were highly qualified, not overpaid, and were contributing members of the NBPA staff."

The personnel moves came a little more than a week after the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison blasted Hunter's stewardship of the union in a 469-page report produced after a nine-month investigation. Among other things, the report questioned Hunter's mishandling of the conflict of interest inherent in his son's financial firm handling union investments. Prim Capital was paid $594,900 for its services, according to the union's most recent annual filings with the Department of Labor.

Prim was let go despite a written, five-year contract that surfaced late in the law firm's investigation stating that the agreement could not be terminated by the NBPA for any reason. The report cast suspicion on the contract, saying that no witnesses interviewed during the course of the investigation ever revealed that such an agreement existed. Prim did not cooperate fully with the probe, the report said.

While taking steps to address a litany of recommendations in the report, Hunter is clinging to his job as the union membership prepares for its first formal meeting since the findings were released, scheduled for next month at All-Star weekend in Houston. Nets star Deron Williams, a top client of noted anti-Hunter agent Jeff Schwartz, told CBSSports.com that "change is needed, top to bottom" in the union leadership. Powerful agent Arn Tellem sent a letter to his clients Monday night calling for Hunter's ouster as executive director, and CBSSports.com has learned that other influential agents are planning to do the same.

In a statement to Bloomberg, Hunter said, "The reality is that the agents have never been satisfied that they cannot control the union for their own agendas."

Among the key findings in the report, Paul, Weiss advised players that they need not recognize Hunter's current contract as valid because it was not voted on by the nine executive committee members and 30 player representatives. The report suggested that Hunter's future be decided quickly, and Tellem urged his clients to support a vote for his removal during the All-Star meetings in Houston.


Before joining CBSSports.com, Ken Berger covered the NBA for Newsday. The Long Island, N.Y., native has also worked for the Associated Press and can be seen on SportsNet New York. Catch Ken every Saturday, when he hosts Eye on Basketball from 6-8 p.m. ET on cbssportsradio.com
 
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