Ex-NBA ref Donaghy awarded $1.3 million

June 18, 2012 at 3:44 PM
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., June 18 (UPI) -- Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy has been awarded $1.3 million by a Florida jury in a lawsuit stemming from his tell-all book about the league and its referees.

Donaghy told the Philadelphia Daily News Sunday he always thought he would win his suit against Shawna Vercher and her now-defunct firm, VTi Group, which published his book. The verdict came in his favor Friday in St. Petersburg.

"The lady made my life a living hell and basically tortured me through the press by putting fictitious stories out there," said Donaghy, 45, who now lives in Sarasota. "I knew, at some point, my time would come. And my time was Friday."

Donaghy was given a 15-month prison term for gambling and wire-fraud convictions for betting on basketball games he officiated.

Donaghy said in his suit Vercher took nearly $250,000 in revenue from his book, "Personal Foul: A First-Person Account of the Scandal that Rocked the NBA" that rightfully was his.

Vercher, now a talk show host, said she intends to appeal. She has maintained Donaghy had threatened her, a claim he says was a fabrication.

"My goal is the same now as it has always been -- that Mr. Donaghy and his ilk stay away from me and my family," she said.

Having served his prison term, Donaghy is now a blogger who makes picks on basketball games, the Daily News said.

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