Report slaps Fox Sports for gov't rides

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NEW YORK -- Fox Sports said Tuesday it didn't know that one of its contract statisticians who worked as a U.S. Marshals Service lawyer had inappropriately arranged for deputies to drive several of the network's announcers to the 2008 Super Bowl and the 2007 World Series.

A Department of Justice report released Friday found that Joseph Band, who worked as an attorney in the service's Office of General Counsel, had arranged for deputy U.S. Marshals in a government vehicle to take Fox Sports announcers Joe Buck and Tim McCarver to Game 1 and Game 2 of the 2007 World Series at Fenway Park in Boston. Band also put together a Marshals Service escort for their private limousines that left Fenway Park after the games.

The report said Band had "violated the standards of ethical conduct for federal employees and USMS policy governing the use of government vehicles." No Fox Sports executives or announcers were accused of any wrongdoing, and Fox Sports said it didn't know at the time that there was a problem.

"Mr. Band has worked as a spotter and statistician for Fox and other networks in the past. At select events he did offer transportation to some Fox Sports personnel," Fox Sports said in a statement. "We were unaware, however, that those arrangements were in any way inappropriate, and regret to learn now that they apparently were."

Neither the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston nor in the Eastern District of Virginia wanted to pursue the matter criminally.

Fox Sports said Band isn't being used as a statistician anymore, and it wasn't immediately clear the last time he was used. The network was informed of the investigation in May. It hasn't been asked for reimbursement.

The report was posted Tuesday on TheSmokingGun.com.

The report also said Band used government staffing and vehicles at other events, including a January 2008 NFL playoff game in Tampa, Fla., where he was working as a statistician for Fox Sports, as well as to and from the 2007 BCS National Championship Game and the 2008 Super Bowl, both in Phoenix.

Many of the incidents had been approved by local Marshals, though the report said that one in San Francisco, U.S. Marshal Federico Rocha, said no in July 2007 regarding baseball's All-Star Game.

Rocha "instead told Band he could take a taxi or trolley to the ballpark. Rocha advised his staff that Band could not be transported in a USMS vehicle while conducting personal business," the report said.
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