- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 25, 2007

In addition to being the mob’s conduit to the NBA, Tim Donaghy had what is euphemistically known as anger management issues.

That is a polite way of saying Donaghy was a jerk in desperate need of a beating, if only to readjust his malfunctioning brain cells.

NBA commissioner David Stern said Donaghy’s explosive temper came to the attention of the league after a neighbor filed a lawsuit against the disgraced referee two years ago.

The suit, initiated by Peter and Lisa Mansueto and chronicled in the Philadelphia Inquirer, portrayed the referee as a nut job who yelled obscenities at his next-door neighbors, set fire to their lawn mower, set fire to their deck and drove their golf cart into a ravine.

The NBA investigated the dispute — Donaghy denied any wrongdoing — and prohibited the referee from working the second round of the playoffs in 2005, a modest rebuke.

Stern also said the NBA investigated reports that Donaghy was seen gambling in Atlantic City, N.J., which is a no-no and results in the automatic expulsion of the offender.

Stern said the NBA could not substantiate the allegations and Donaghy was able to keep the job that paid him $260,000 last season.

If the NBA sleuths had bothered to dig deeper into the questionable temperament of Donaghy, they might have discovered that he had a stalking/harassment problem with another neighbor in 1995.

They might have learned about his angry confrontation with a mail carrier in 2002, initiated after the mail carrier’s postal truck knocked over a bin of recyclables in his front driveway.

They might have talked to the cop who suspected Donaghy was hitting the homes of his neighbors with golf balls that he would strike from his backyard.

They might have talked to the country club members who found him to be rude.

They might have connected the dots and decided that Donaghy was a poor ambassador of the NBA and terminated his employment.

It is hard to believe the close-knit fraternity of the NBA had no hint that Donaghy was a troubled character.

And if those paid to know such things did know, why did they not act on it?

Stern did not make that clear in his press conference yesterday.

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