In June 2007, the FBI informed the NBA that one of its referees, Tim Donaghy, was the subject of a probe into illegal gambling. Within months, the public knew the broad outlines of a scheme involving Donaghy betting on games he officiated with a co-conspirator, longtime Donaghy acquaintance and professional gambler Jimmy Baba Battista. They were joined in the scandal by a mutual childhood friend, Tommy Martino. By November 2008, each man had pleaded guilty to charges relating to the conspiracy, and was in federal prison. The story was over. Or so it seemed to be. Researched with dozens of interviews, court documents, betting records, referee statistics, and unique access to witness statements and confidential law enforcement files, GAMING THE GAME looks inside the FBI’s investigation and beyond to provide the definitive account of the scandal. Jimmy Battista’s remarkable decades-long bookmaking and betting career is examined, including and especially his role as architect of the widely publicized scandal. Battista, who – unlike his co-conspirators – never spoke with federal authorities, reveals for the first time the intricate details of the scheme, most of which only he knows.
About the Author:
Sean Patrick Griffin, Associate Professor in Criminal Justice at Penn State Abington, is the author of two books on African-American organized crime including Black Brothers Inc., The Violent Rise and Fall of Philadelphia’s Black Mafia from which BET based an episode of its “American Gangster” series, and has been optioned to be made into at least one motion picture by Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way Productions for Warner Brothers Studios. He resides in a suburb of Philadelphia.