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WNBA to vet Isiah Thomas's ownership stake in New York Liberty

WNBA forms committee to vet Isiah Thomas’ ownership stake in New York Liberty

The WNBA has formed a six-member committee to vet Madison Square Garden’s request to provide Basketball Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas with an ownership interest in the New York Liberty, the league announced.

The six-member committee consists of Chicago Sky principal owner Michael Alter; Connecticut Sun CEO Mitchell Etess; Seattle Storm co-owner Ginny Gilder; Minnesota Lynx Executive Vice President Roger Griffith; Washington Mystics Vice Chairman, President and Managing Partner Sheila Johnson; and Spurs Sports & Entertainment President of Business Operations Rick Pych.

The Liberty hired Thomas to be the team's president earlier this month, despite Thomas being the subject of a sexual harassment lawsuit while he was employed by the New York Knicks.

Thomas’s duties with the Liberty also include being responsible for the team’s basketball and business operations.

Thomas, Madison Square Garden and MSG chairman James Dolan were named in the lawsuit brought by former Knicks executive Anucha Browne Sanders in 2007. A jury awarded Browne Sanders $11.6 million, after finding that the team improperly fired Sanders for complaining about Thomas' unwanted advances. Thomas and the Knicks have continued to deny wrongdoing.

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Thomas said that he discussed the lawsuit with the Liberty players.

"I've always maintained my innocence, moved on from that. Our organization has moved on from that," Thomas said. "I'm proud of the way I lived my life."

The WNBA’s Board of Governors must approve Thomas’ ownership application for him to continue having a stake in the team.

WNBA president Laurel J. Richie has said that she hopes the process is done by the time the league’s regular season begins on Friday.

- Scooby Axson