"No matter the explanation, when viewed collectively, his choices created the appearance that he operated the union in part for the benefit of his family and friends," the report said.
"The appearance of favoritism has damaged the union. Mr. Hunter's pattern of involving friends and family in union business contributed to a deep rift among the NBPA staff."
The report found that Hunter also spent more than $100,000 of union funds to purchase gifts for executive committee members, including a $22,000 watch for Fisher in June 2010, and that he made "questionable choices" when charging travel expenses to the NBPA.
The investigation began in April 2012 and included reviews of documents, financial records and NBPA emails, along with interviews of more than three dozen witnesses. It questioned a payment he received for unused vacation time and the way he filed travel expenses, but couldn't prove they were illegal.
"Our investigation has concluded that the facts do not show that Mr. Hunter engaged in criminal acts involving embezzlement or theft of union funds," the report states. "Nevertheless, in our judgment, the facts do show that, at times, Mr. Hunter's actions were inconsistent with his fiduciary obligations to put the interests of the union above his personal interests."
Hunter could be paid between $12 million and $18 million, based on the terms of the contract. But the report states that players would have "powerful arguments" that the contract was never legal if an attempt to remove Hunter led to litigation.
Hunter cited the union's growth since he took over in 1996 and sought to further strengthen the organization.
"Prior to the report's issuance, the NBPA began implementation of some of the recommendations suggested, including a revised hiring policy and a new anti-nepotism policy. I look forward to continuing my work with the NBPA, adopting additional recommendations from the report and opening a new chapter of NBPA governance," Hunter said.
"I believe through these steps the NBPA will emerge from this review a stronger organization and continue to meet the needs of its membership. I will be reaching out to the membership to discuss the report and address ways to pursue the best path forward for the NBPA."