Phil Scala, a former FBI agent that worked on the Tim Donaghy case, regrets briefing David Stern, Adam Silver, Joel Litvin and Bernie Tolbert on June 21st, 2007 about one of their referees betting on his own game and giving inside information to a gambling ring. The NBA was not told about potential game-fixing.
Scala recounts Stern mostly being upset that the NBA's in-house security didn't discover Donaghy's wrongdoing prior to the FBI.
The feds had planned on using Donaghy as an informant and to get other allegedly corrupt referees to incriminate themselves. But the probe leaked to the New York Post.
"If you're going to ask me if I would do it differently now, the answer is yes. I would not have gone to brief Stern," Scala said.
"Our plans were blown up by the fact that somebody leaked this," Scala lamented to me. "I don't like to talk in terms of coulda, woulda, shoulda, but if the Post story didn't come out, [Donaghy] would have worn a wire, and I don't know where it would have gone. Things may have been different. That's the bottom line."
Both Donaghy and the NBA tried to convince the FBI that he didn't fix games.
"They told us, 'You can't fix a game in the NBA. It's impossible,'" Scala said. "When someone tells you something's impossible, you know they're full of s---, because nothing's impossible. But that was the company line."