The estranged wife of former NBA referee Tim Donaghy said yesterday that her husband was being "treated unfairly" by Florida authorities who arrested him Tuesday for a possible parole violation.

Kimberly Donaghy, who has not yet been granted the divorce she filed for in 2007, reiterated what the ex-referee's lawyer had said about the incident that landed Donaghy back in jail in Tampa, Fla.

"Tim had permission to be with a physical therapist for his knee injury," she said in an e-mail to The Inquirer. "The halfway house that he was in has made a grave error in judgment, and due to their oversight, Tim is not only being held on false grounds in a county jail, but he is not being given the adequate medical care that he needs for his knee."

On Tuesday, according to the U.S. Marshals Service, Donaghy didn't show up for work at a beverage company in Sarasota, Fla., and was committed to a Hillsborough County jail without bail for the violation of his probation.

Donaghy, a graduate of Cardinal O'Hara and Villanova, had been living in a Tampa-area halfway house since his release from a Pensacola federal prison camp in June. His 15-month sentence for providing inside information to gamblers is due to expire in October.

"He can't call or have visitors," his wife said. "His lawyer met with him [Tuesday]. . . . Tim has done nothing but tried to get his life in order so that he can work, and take care of his children. Tim has never missed a day of work in his life and this incident has nothing to do with him not showing up for work. . . . I am absolutely sick at what the system has done to him."

She said she had not been told whether Donaghy's sentence could be lengthened.

"I hope that he will be exonerated," she said.

The Donaghys have four daughters, ages 8 to 13.

Donaghy, 42, told prison officials in June that his knee was injured when he was struck by an inmate with ties to the New York mob.

Contact staff writer Frank Fitzpatrick at 215-854-5068 or