Skip to content
Our Archives
Link copied to clipboard

Donaghy letter names 2 more

Federal prosecutors refused to say whether they would charge two other Delaware County friends with whom Tim Donaghy had allegedly wagered on NBA games.

Tim Donaghy refs a game.
Tim Donaghy refs a game.Read more

Federal prosecutors outlined Tim Donaghy's cooperation in the case against two gambling-scheme coconspirators as "significant both in its timing and scope" but refused to say whether they would charge two other Delaware County friends with whom the fired referee had allegedly wagered on NBA games.

The information was made public yesterday when U.S. District Judge Carol Amon unsealed a government letter that seeks a reduced penalty for Donaghy, who faces up to 25 years in prison when he is sentenced July 14.

The document again noted that Donaghy also told authorities about other NBA officials who had made wagers in violation of league guidelines, but it did not identify them or the nature of the bets.

"[The letter] confirms our position that Tim has been entirely truthful and credible," Donaghy's lawyer, John Lauro, said in a prepared statement.

The 13-year NBA official, a graduate of Cardinal O'Hara High and Villanova, pleaded guilty last year to wire-fraud and gambling charges in connection with the information on NBA games he provided to high school friends James Battista and Thomas Martino in 2006 and 2007. Some of those games were officiated by Donaghy.

Both men pleaded guilty. Battista, 43, of Phoenixville, described as a professional gambler, faces 10-16 months in prison. Martino, 43, of Marcus Hook, could get 12 to 16 months. They are due to be sentenced in the Brooklyn court July 11.

But according to the letter, originally filed under seal May 8, Donaghy actually had a longer gambling relationship with two other Delaware County men, Jack Concannon and Pete Ruggieri.

Donaghy told authorities that because of his gambling losses at an Atlantic City casino, he was "pressured" by Concannon to provide inside information on NBA games.

He said he gave "recommendations" to Concannon, a former basketball star and coach at Monsignor Bonner, on about 40 NBA games a year from 2003 through 2007.

Sources indicated that Concannon, Ruggieri and Donaghy met frequently at the Concord Country Club in Concordville to discuss their betting, which also included wagers on other sports.

The referee told prosecutors he earned $10,000 to $30,000 annually on the bets, which Concannon placed through Ruggieri, whom the letter described as a professional gambler.

The government "declined to disclose whether it is pursuing, or will be pursuing, charges" against Concannon and Ruggieri.

"My client was interviewed by the FBI and responded truthfully to their questions," Joseph Fiorvanti, Concannon's attorney, said. "He does not expect to be indicted. He has no organized-crime connections. He's just a guy who bet games with Donaghy."

Ruggieri's attorney could not be reached for comment.

Lauro's statement also indicated he was unhappy Donaghy was facing considerably more prison time than Martino and Battista.

"We remain deeply troubled by the way in which the case has been handled by the U.S. Attorney's Office," Lauro said. "As a former federal prosecutor in that office, the prosecutorial decisions made in the case make no sense."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey Goldberg refused comment.

Among the new revelations was a code that the men devised for telephone discussions about their NBA picks.

Donaghy said he used the names of Martino's brothers to indicate which team the men should bet on. "Chuck," the brother who still lived in the Philadelphia area, meant the home team. "Johnny," who had moved away, indicated the visitors.

While the letter repeats Donaghy's contention that Battista coerced him into providing inside information by threatening to disclose his prior gambling to the NBA - claims Battista's lawyer denies - it also notes that the referee was a "willing participant" in the scheme that paid him $2,000 for every correct tip.