Knicks Owner James Dolan Fined for Violating FTC Rules

Posted December 6, 2018 6:49 p.m. EST

James L. Dolan, the owner of the New York Knicks and chief executive of the Madison Square Garden Co., violated federal law when he failed to tell government agencies of his acquisition of additional voting securities in the company, the Federal Trade Commission said Thursday.

Dolan, who also serves as executive chairman of MSG Networks, has agreed to pay $609,810 in civil penalties to settle the charges, the FTC. said.

Companies and individuals must inform the FTC and the Justice Department if a major financial move, such as a merger or acquisition, will cause the value of their voting securities in a company to surpass a certain amount. The rule, called the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, allows the government to evaluate whether the transactions will negatively impact commerce in the United States.

The parties are required to send detailed filings to the agencies in advance, and cannot close the deal until the end of a waiting period.

Kimberly Kerns, a spokeswoman for the company, described the case as an administrative error, saying the company’s law firm, Debevoise & Plimpton, missed a deadline for the filing.

“Debevoise agreed to pay the fine as a result of their mistake,” she said.

Dolan ultimately filed reports for the acquisition of the shares but was in violation of the rules for about three months in 2017, according to the complaint. He has violated notification requirements required before mergers in the past, the FTC said.

In addition to the Knicks, Dolan owns the New York Rangers, and he oversees the operations of both teams. He was chief executive of Cablevision until it was sold in 2016.