|Accuser: Isiah Thomas called me vulgar name during meetings|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 17 September 2007 12:19|
Anucha Browne Sanders is seeking $10 million in damages on her claim that she was fired for accusing Thomas of harassment.
She said Thomas ``started some sentences with the word bitch'' and ended his sentence with even stronger language. Browne Sanders, testifying in a soft tone of voice, made her remarks during an aggressive cross examination by defense attorney Kathleen Bogas.
It was unclear how Thomas reacted to the testimony; his back was to the courtroom audience.
The testimony came during the second week of a trial that has exposed the Knicks - one of the NBA's most-storied franchises - to a series of damaging allegations. The lawsuit has portrayed Madison Square Garden as more dysfunctional frat house than hallowed arena.
The lawsuit claims Browne Sanders was fired ``for telling the truth'' about vulgarity and unwanted advances by Thomas, also a team president; Thomas has adamantly denied the allegations.
Earlier Monday, Browne Sanders calmly fended off assertions that her job performance was lacking.
Madison Square Garden attorney Ronald Green introduced a series of 2004-05 e-mail exchanges by Browne Sanders and various managers at the Garden, including president Steve Mills.
``I want to stress that you are focused on more ridiculous issues than I can handle,'' Mills replied to Browne Sanders' e-mail asking about the order of the names in a media guide.
``Were you concerned that the relationship with Mr. Mills was not as good as it had been?'' Browne Sanders was asked. She replied that she was not.
Greene noted that, in an e-mail to a friend, Browne Sanders indicated that she would soon begin revising her resume. Opposing lawyers apparently are trying to show that Browne Sanders was in a power struggle, fearing her high-salaried position was slipping away from her.
Browne Sanders responded that she had received a ``glowing evaluation.''
Another e-mail showed Browne Sanders had been criticized for suggesting that Thomas personally hand-sign 4,500 letters to season subscribers.
Green, using a testy tone, asked Browne Sanders whether that was a sensible suggestion.
``Looking at it now, I don't think it was a good idea,'' she replied.
Thomas, his shoulders square, leaned forward while listening to that testimony.
In a June 2005 e-mail to Mills, enlarged on a screen for jurors, Browne Sanders criticized Thomas.
``Why is it such an uncomfortable struggle to get him (Thomas) to engage in the business of the team?'' she wrote. ``This is part of Isiah's job, isn't it?''
After the jury of five women and three men left the courtroom, U.S. District Judge Gerard Lynch expressed exasperation that the case it taking longer than non-celebrity trials and asked the lawyers to speed things up.
``I saw one juror nodding off this morning,'' the judge said.