04.19.09

Courier-Journal : Feds Investigating Pitino Extortion Claim

Posted in Basketball, The Law at 2:29 pm by

Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino might’ve well woken up this morning and determined, “Robert Parish isn’t walking thru that door….but if he did, it would be really nice if he clobbered the towel guy’s wife.”  The Louisville Courier-Journal’s Eric Crawford reports Pitino claims he’s the victim of an unspecified extortion attempt.

Pitino gave no specifics on the actions he claims are being taken against him, but said in the statement, “I intend to vigorously defend my reputation and the character of my family against any criminal scheme to extort money.”

Louisville attorney Thomas Clay later called the newspaper and said he represents the woman who is under FBI investigation. He declined to provide details of her claims or to identify her, but when told that WDRB 41 had named her as Karen Sypher, the wife of U of L basketball equipment manager Tim Sypher, he said he did not “take issue” with that.

“There is a federal investigation going on, and there may be criminal charges placed against her as a result of what coach Pitino has brought to the attention of the FBI,” Clay said. “. . . There are no counter allegations, and as far as I am concerned this criminal investigation is going to proceed to a logical conclusion and I hope that we can put this matter behind us as quickly as possible.”

Clay said his client has been interviewed by the FBI, but declined to offer more specifics.

FBI spokesman David Beyer confirmed that Pitino told the agency last month that he “was the victim of an apparent extortion and we have an ongoing investigation.

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