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Mark Cuban to pay $10M to women's organizations after investigation into workplace misconduct

The Mavs owner will pay four times the maximum fine that can be handed down by the NBA, but it'll all go toward "organizations that promote women in leadership roles and combat domestic violence."

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has agreed to donate $10 million to women's organizations in the wake of a seven-month investigation into the organization's workplace culture.

The investigation came after the Mavs' front office – namely multiple high-ranking executives – were accused of fostering an environment with rampant sexual harassment.

The $10 million will go toward "organizations that are committed to supporting the leadership and development of women in the sports industry and combating domestic violence," according to the NBA.

Cuban and the league agreed on the $10 million sanction in lieu of a direct fine. The maximum fine that can be handed down by the NBA is $2.5 million.

A lengthy investigation report, released at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, said the Mavericks were guilty of "serious workplace misconduct by former and current employees," and "improper or ineffective management."

"It was the Mavericks’ organizational shortcomings that permitted the growth of an environment in which these individuals and their misconduct could flourish," the report reads. "Indeed, the failure to appropriately respond to harassment exacerbated the harm caused by the harassment itself."

These are the key players in the Mavericks’ rampant workplace misconduct

The Mavs were given a total of 13 recommendations in the report, including implementing a program that improves sexual harassment training and reporting, and clarifying Cuban's role in employment decisions. The NBA will require the club to provide quarterly updates regarding those recommendations.

There were no basketball-related sanctions handed down following the investigation, conducted by the lawfirms Krutoy Law and Lowenstein-Sandler.

Notably, the Mavericks organization is divided into two sides – the basketball side and business side. The findings of misconduct were confined to the business side of the organization.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement on the Mavericks investigation Wednesday:

“The findings of the independent investigation are disturbing and heartbreaking and no employee in the NBA, or any workplace for that matter, should be subject to the type of working environment described in the report,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. “We appreciate that Mark Cuban reacted swiftly, thoroughly and transparently to the allegations first set forth in Sports Illustrated – including the immediate hiring of Cynthia Marshall as CEO to effect change, but as Mark has acknowledged, he is ultimately responsible for the culture and conduct of his employees. While nothing will undo the harm caused by a select few former employees of the Mavericks, the workplace reforms and the $10 million that Mark has agreed to contribute are important steps toward rectifying this past behavior and shining a light on a pervasive societal failing -- the inability of too many organizations to provide a safe and welcoming workplace for women.”

Mavericks interim CEO Cynthia Marshall is expected to hold a press conference at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday to discuss the investigation's findings.

In February, Sports Illustrated published an explosive report that described “a corporate culture rife with misogyny and predatory sexual behavior.”

In the wake of the scathing report, the Mavs hired two high-profile investigators to look into the team’s front office culture. Former New Jersey attorney general Anne Milgram and former New York City prosecutor Evan Krutoy interviewed 215 current and former Mavs employees and analyzed 1.6 million documents, according to the report.

Former Mavericks president Terdema Ussery, who was at the heart of the SI report, was found to have sexually harassed 15 female employees, according to the report. Chris Hyde, a high-ranking account executive, sexually harassed "dozens" of employees and would watch pornography at the office.

Then-Human Resources director Buddy Pittman is accused of not only mishandling harassment cases, but "taking steps to protect" Ussery.

Cuban claimed in February that rampant sexual harassment and sexual misconduct within the organization was “new to me” and that he had no tolerance for the behavior.

“This is all new to me,” he said, according to SI. “The only awareness I have is because I heard you guys were looking into some things.”

The investigative report released Wednesday deemed Cuban's claim "credible," but recommended a clearer front office structure as a result of Cuban's hit-or-miss role in personnel matters. The report alluded to an organization that "lacked any hierarchy and consisted of blurred lines of decision making on some issues."

A woman at the center of the scandal – who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation by the organization – described working with Ussery exclusively to WFAA back in February.

“I think you have to have a certain thick skin, but this was a whole other level,” she said. “It was touching, it was explosive behavior, it was angry, it was just on a whole other level of, like, psychopath, and you just didn’t understand what was happening to you every day.

“I loved the job and it was a dream job, but it was a nightmare situation.”

Ussery was hired by the Mavs in 1997, but by 1998 the organization was already investigating him for allegations of sexual harassment. The 1998 investigation, which was mentioned in the 43-page report Wednesday, went nowhere and he stayed with the Mavs until 2015.

Now-former Mavs.com reporter Earl K. Sneed was also accused in the SI report of being involved in domestic disputes with women in 2011 and 2014. One of those incidents involved a former Mavericks employee.

Sneed was fired in the days after the report.

Cuban took responsibility for Sneed’s continued employment following the allegations of domestic violence.

The investigative report listed a total of 13 recommendations for the Mavericks organization, including bolstering its HR department and hiring more women within the organization.

As part of an effort to improve the workplace environment, the Mavericks hired Cynthia Marshall as interim CEO. Since her hiring, the Mavs have brought in the organization’s first-ever female assistant coach – Jenny Boucek – and announced that the team’s dancers will wear less-revealing uniforms starting next season.

The Mavs also added two other women to senior executive positions: Cynthia Wales took on the newly-created role of Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer, while Tarsha LaCour was named the Senior Vice President of Human Resources.

The report stated that "Mark Cuban and the Mavericks have taken many positive steps in the right direction."

In a Wednesday afternoon press conference, Milgram said the lawfirms had received "an extraordinary amount of cooperation" from the Mavericks organizations.

Report details investigation into Mavericks' workplace misconduct by wfaachannel8 on Scribd

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