By David Payne Purdum / @DavidPurdum
Ex-NBA referee Tim Donaghy has a million-dollar court ruling in his pocket, but knows he still has a ways to go before he receives retribution from his former book publisher.
After a more than two-year legal battle, Donaghy was awarded $1.62 million Friday in his breach-of-contract suit against his former book publisher and current political talk show host Shawna Vercher.
“I don’t know that it’ll change my life right now,” Donaghy said in a Saturday phone interview. “But knowing the things she’s tried to pull off, I’m sure she’ll try to get out of paying.”
A Florida jury backed Donaghy’s allegations that Vercher failed to pay royalties on his book, “Personal Foul” and took steps to discredit the former ref, who was booted from the NBA for his role in a gambling scandal.
Donaghy claims that Vercher orchestrated the creation of the website, TimDonaghyRevealed.com, and posted negative and erroneous stories about him. The URL is no longer working.
“We were able to trace the website that was set up with fictitious names and emails,” Donaghy said. “Some of her employees told us that they were directed to create this website with untraceable emails and web addresses; then she put up all the information.”
Vercher did not address that specific allegation, but told David Purdum Sports in an email that her attorney Khurrum Wahid had already begun work on an appeal.
“We are confident that – once we get beyond a court in Mr. Donaghy’s back yard (and that of his attorney) and to an appellate court – we will be allowed to call witnesses, to present evidence and to provide enough evidence to prevail in finally having a judge rule that Mr. Donaghy must stay away from me and my family,” Vercher added.
Donaghy resides in Sarasota, Fla. His attorney, Nick Mooney of Bromagen & Rathet, P.A., works out of St. Petersburg.
In response to Vercher’s statement, Mooney said, “We look forward to continuing the legal process and getting it finalized. I assure you that Mr. Donaghy has no interest in going anywhere near Mrs. Vercher or her family.”
Donaghy says he believed Vercher had some creative ideas at the time he was looking for a publisher.
“She claimed that she had worked with Jeb Bush and President Obama and, at the time, seemed like a person that could get the project done and was a trustworthy person,” Donaghy said. “If she would have been, it would have been a huge success for both of his. Instead, she chose to go down a path that wasn’t beneficial.”
Since being banned by the NBA in 2005 and serving 15 months in jail, Donaghy has been publicly ridiculed and had his credibility tarnished. He was frustrated throughout the lengthy suit, but says the advice from a Portland Trail Blazers season-ticket holder helped him stay professional while interacting with Vercher.
Attorney Dorothy Kemp corresponded with Donaghy after reading his book and helped him communicate with Vercher.
“She told me, ‘at some point, this is going to go to court, and you don’t want anything in writing or have done anything that can cause you harm when it does,’ ” Donaghy said. “I had to be extremely professional and let [Mrs. Vercher] go down the unprofessional road.”
Donaghy currently provides NBA analysis for the site, SportsConnectionWins.com, and says he plans on staying in the gaming business.