A federal judge in Newark yesterday appointed a monitor to reform the International Boxing Federation, whose top officials have been indicted on charges that they accepted bribes from promoters, managers and others to manipulate the rankings of fighters.
U.S. District Court Judge John W. Bissell named Newark attorney Joseph Hayden Jr. to oversee the major boxing sanctioning organization. Bissell also barred IBF President Robert Lee Sr. and three other top officials who were indicted Nov. 3 from any involvement with the IBF.
In his order appointing Hayden, Bissell said the monitor will have broad powers to oversee "the IBF and its related entities to ensure that it is operated in full compliance . . . with state and federal laws and in a financially prudent manner . . . as well as to ensure that its decisions in the field of boxing are consistent with fairness and integrity."
Hayden's duties will include examining the IBF's corporate books and financial records as well as bringing to the attention of the court any violations of the law. Hayden will report periodically to the court on his progress in reforming the group.
"This is a significant sweeping victory for the government," said U.S. Attorney Robert J. Cleary, the prosecutor in the case who had asked the judge to appoint a monitor. "Our success on this motion represents a major step forward in our efforts to free the IBF from the shackles of corruption."
Cleary said this is the first time a monitor has been imposed on a major sports organization. The court generally has appointed monitors to reform corrupt labor unions.
Cleary sought the appointment of the monitor as part of a civil racketeering lawsuit the prosecutor filed Nov. 22 against Lee and three top officials--Robert Lee Jr., Don William Brennan and Francisco Fernandez.
That lawsuit was filed three weeks after the four men were indicted on charges that they accepted $338,000 in bribes between 1985 and 1998, including $100,000 in 1995 to influence a heavyweight championship bout.
The Lees and Brennan have pleaded not guilty. Lawyers for the defendants could not be reached to comment last night.