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WNBA forms committee to evaluate proposed ownership interest of Isiah Thomas in the New York Liberty

Published on June 1, 2015


WNBA President Laurel Richie announced that six members of the WNBA Board of Governors have been named to the committee that will vet Madison Square Garden’s request to provide Isiah Thomas with an ownership interest in the New York Liberty.

Since the Liberty announced hiring Thomas as the president of the team last month and indicated that he was offered an ownership stake, the franchise has been under intense scrutiny from fans and media.

The members of the committee, which convened today for the first time and will prepare a recommendation to the full WNBA Board:

  • Michael Alter, Principal Owner, Chicago Sky
  • Mitchell Etess, Chief Executive Officer, Connecticut Sun
  • Ginny Gilder, Co-Owner, Seattle Storm
  • Roger Griffith, Executive Vice President, Minnesota Lynx
  • Sheila Johnson, Vice Chairman, President and Managing Partner, Washington Mystics
  • Rick Pych, President of Business Operations, Spurs Sports & Entertainment

Thomas, who has a long record of failure as a basketball coach and sports executive, and the owners of the franchise were the subject of a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the current NCAA vice president of women’s basketball championships, Anucha Browne, in 2007.

A jury found that Thomas and Madison Square Garden Company owner James Dolan fostered a hostile work environment. MSG was ordered to pay Browne, a former executive for the NBA team, $11.6 million. The lawsuit detailed crude and sexual comments directed at Browne from Thomas. When she complained, the Knicks fired her. Thomas and Dolan continue to deny any responsibility for the events detailed in the lawsuit and have recently indicated that they think the Browne lied about the harassment.




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