PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo has resigned amid an investigation into an alleged use of a variety of Twitter accounts that anonymously trash some Sixers players and fellow executives. The investigation revealed that Colangelo’s wife was behind those accounts.
“An independent investigation by New York based law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP was conducted into certain anonymous social media accounts that posted information concerning the club, personnel, and related topics. It has become clear Bryan’s relationship with our team and his ability to lead the 76ers moving forward has been compromised,” 76ers managing partner Josh Harris said in a statement.
The law firm concluded that Colangelo’s wife, Barbara Bottini, was behind the burner Twitter accounts and was the one who posted the information.
“When interviewed, Ms. Bottini admitted establishing and operating the accounts. Forensic evidence corroborates her admissions,” the law firm said.
The law firm could not say if Colangelo was aware of the Twitter accounts and stated he denied “any such awareness.”
“Our investigation revealed substantial evidence that Mr. Colangelo was the source of sensitive, non-public, club-related information contained in certain posts to the Twitter accounts. We believe that Mr. Colangelo was careless and in some instances reckless in failing to properly safeguard sensitive, non-public, club-related information in communications with individuals outside the 76ers organization,” the firm said.
The allegations, first reported by the sports website The Ringer, claim five burner Twitter accounts linked to Colangelo took aim at Sixers players Joel Embiid and Markelle Fultz, former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie, among others.
The tweets also raised the question of whether Colangelo used the anonymous accounts to divulge team strategy and details about players’ medical conditions.
Colangelo acknowledged using one of the accounts to monitor the NBA industry and other current events but said he wasn’t familiar with the four others.
The Ringer said it had been monitoring the accounts since February, when it received an anonymous tip. It said it found numerous connections among the accounts that suggested the same person was behind them.
The Ringer said it initially asked the Sixers about just two of the accounts, and the same day the three others were suddenly made private.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)