TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Former NBA referee Tim Donaghy arrived at Tampa halfway house Wednesday from a federal prison camp in the Florida Panhandle to serve the rest of his 15-month sentence in a gambling scandal, his spokesman said.

Prison officials put Donaghy on a bus that left Pensacola about midnight instead of the usual procedure of moving inmates between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m. to prevent him from having contact with the media, said Pat Zaranek of Executive Prison Consultants.

“They just don’t want to deal with it,” Zaranek said.

A New York judge sentenced Donaghy last year to 15 months after the referee said he took thousands of dollars from a professional gambler in exchange for inside tips on NBA games – including games he worked. Donaghy said he was a gambling addict.

He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to engage in wire fraud and transmitting betting information through interstate commerce in the tips-for-payoffs scheme. Donaghy started serving his sentence in September and is scheduled for release in October.

Donaghy is a client of Zaranek’s firm, which helps federal defendants – mostly white collar criminals – prepare for prison and adjust back to society when they are freed.

Zaranek said Donaghy will be required to look for a job while at the halfway house. He has a degree in sales and marketing from Villanova.

“Finding a job for anybody right now is tough,” Zaranek said. “I’m sure he’ll grab whatever he can get.”

Donaghy has begun working on a tell-all memoir about his 13-year career in the NBA while he’s been in prison.

He plans to detail his involvement with underworld figures in the betting scandal, disclose how he’d pick winning teams and discuss the relationship that players, coaches and referees have with each other.

While at the prison camp on Saufley Field, a Navy base, Donaghy was attacked by another inmate claiming to have to ties to the New York mob, Zaranek disclosed last week.

He said Donaghy was hit in the right leg and knee with a stick or club, still has pain in the knee and will need surgery.

AP-ES-06-17-09 1830EDT

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