Though toiling for Deadspin helped propel Will Leitch to the somewhere near the top of the best-seller lists, the same cannot be said for recent Deadspin contributor / former NBA referee Tim Donaghy. The head of an independent publishing firm that issued Donaghy’s recent tome, ‘Personal Foul’, alleges the rogue ref threatened her with some sort of mob reprisal. From the St. Petersberg Times’ Lorri Helfand :
VTi Group, a small Largo-based media and marketing firm, agreed to publish his book. Triumph Books had dropped him in the fall after a legal review of the manuscript.
The initial printing, 10,000 books, sold within three weeks, said VTi chief executive Shawna Vercher. But Donaghy (abov) and Vercher’s relationship quickly deteriorated. In March, they cut ties.
Donaghy said he broke things off because Vercher tried to tack on additional costs and wouldn’t provide him with financial details.
Vercher’s side of the story: Donaghy called her office incessantly, became increasing hostile, demanded money and made veiled threats.
“Mr. Donaghy explained to me he had connections in the mob and the Gambino crime family and that they had an active member near me,” said Vercher, 33.
“She’s using tabloid tactics to try to say I’m a bad person because the bottom line is she has not given me a full and accurate account of the profits and proceeds for Personal Foul,” said Donaghy, 43, who repeated a similar mantra about 20 times during an interview at a Panera Bread, near his Sarasota home.
On April 28, Vercher told Largo police that Donaghy threatened her about two months earlier. After Vercher contacted Donaghy’s probation officer, the threats ceased, she said. But according to Vercher’s sworn statement, she got a call from Mooney in April, stating that Donaghy wanted a royalty payment and to audit her books and that both he and Donaghy were coming to her office.
“Mr. Donaghy is a felon with known mob ties and a self professed gambling addict,” she said. “Our entire office is fearful of our safety.”