February 1, 2013 / 10:45 PM / 5 years ago

Players union places leader Hunter on leave

(Reuters) - Billy Hunter, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) was placed on indefinite leave on Friday, as investigations continue into his leadership of the union.

Executive Director of the NBA player's association Billy Hunter pauses at a news conference after holding another round of unsuccessful contract negotiations between the NBA and the NBA Players Association in New York, November 10, 2011. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi

NBPA president Derek Fisher, announced in a statement the formation of both an interim executive committee and advisory committee to move the organization forward.

”Unfortunately, it appears that union management has lost sight of the NBPA’s only task, to serve the best interests of their membership,“ Fisher said. ”This is the reason I called for a review almost a year ago.

”The findings of that review confirm this unfortunate truth and we must now move forward as players.

“Immediate change is necessary and I, along with the committee members, are committed to driving the process as difficult as it may be.”

Fisher had pushed for an audit of the union’s finances and business practices under the 70-year-old Hunter, who has been the NBA players union’s leader since 1996.

In light of the findings in the recent report and continuing investigations by the United States attorney’s office in New York and the federal Department of Labor, the NBPA moved to appoint Ron Klempner, the union’s deputy counsel, has interim executive director.

Hunter’s future as the NBPA chief is likely to be decided later this month when the union conducts its annual meeting at the NBA All-Star weekend on Feb 16.

Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, Editing by Gene Cherry

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