Isiah Thomas files for partial ownership of New York Liberty

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

NEW YORK -- Isiah Thomas has filed paperwork for partial ownership of the WNBA's New York Liberty, two people familiar with the situation said Wednesday.

Thomas needs approval from the league's board of governors for his ownership application to go through. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because no formal announcement has been made.

Thomas was named president of the Liberty last week, a move that caught the WNBA off-guard. He also was given an ownership stake, but the paperwork for it was just sent to the league in the past few days.

WNBA President Laurel J. Richie told The Associated Press last week that she was gathering information about Thomas, who was once the subject of a sexual harassment suit when he worked for the New York Knicks.

Anucha Browne Sanders, a former Madison Square Garden executive, brought a lawsuit in 2007, contending Thomas sexually harassed her. It cost MSG $11.5 million, but the Basketball Hall of Famer maintained his innocence and said he was never found personally liable.

"We have read the reports in the news and that will be a part of our vetting process, absolutely," Richie said. "We have an annual meeting in December and the rest of our meetings are ad hoc meetings. This would be an ad hoc meeting."

Richie also said that the hiring of Thomas as president was "first and foremost a team decision, but there's ultimate responsibility with the league and that rests in my office."

She hopes to have this resolved before the season starts on June 5. The Liberty begin training camp this weekend.