American Scandal

Every scandal begins with a lie. But the truth will come out. And then comes the fallout and the outrage.

Scandals have shaped America since its founding. From business and politics to sports and society, we look on aghast as corruption, deceit and ambition bring down heroes and celebrities, politicians and moguls. And when the dust finally settles, we’re left to wonder: how did this happen? Where did they trip up, and who is to blame? From the creators of American History Tellers, Business Wars and Tides of History comes American Scandal, where we take you deep into the heart of America’s dark side to look at what drives someone to break the rules and what happens when they’re caught. Hosted by Lindsay Graham.

New episodes come out every Tuesday for free, with 1-week early access for Wondery+ subscribers. Get all episodes - including exclusive seasons - ad-free on Wondery+ or on Amazon Music with a Prime membership or Amazon Music Unlimited subscription.

Introducing: Reign of Error

Introducing: Reign of Error

Mon, 15 May 2023 08:00

James Dolan was born into immense privilege. He could have done anything with his life. But he chose the family business — a cable television empire that came to include ownership of the New York Knicks, one of the most beloved franchises on earth. What happened from there is a tragedy of Shakespearean proportions. Dolan didn’t just lead the Knicks to disaster (and the worst record in the NBA in the 21st Century); he also built a laboratory of shame, dysfunction, and, well, unintentional hilarity.

Join host David Greene as he unpacks this trainwreck, over 5 riveting episodes, while chasing the answer to one elusive question: Why the hell won’t James Dolan just sell the team? From SmartLess Media, and Campside Media, Reign of Error is the series James Dolan doesn’t want you to hear.

Listen to Reign of Error wherever you get your podcasts:

Hey Prime Members you can listen to Reign of Error early and ad-free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today.

See Privacy Policy at and California Privacy Notice at

Listen to Episode

Copyright © © 2018 Wondery, Inc.

Read Episode Transcript

I want to tell you about a new great podcast called Rain of Error that I think we could learn some valuable lessons from and how not to run an organization. Rain of Error unpacks the story of James Dolan, dreaded owner of the New York Knicks, who wrestles away his father's cable vision empire in a family drama that's almost straight out of an episode of succession. Dolan is a man born to a man's privilege, and in Rain of Error you'll learn how he went from aspiring musician to holding the throne of one of the most beloved franchises in sports. But his time at the top can only be described as a dumpster fire. Rain of Error details how Dolan has become a lightning rod for criticism as he tries to escape from the shadow of his billionaire father. Dolan battles with his own players, fans, celebrities, politicians, the media, even Girl Scouts, using everything from an army of lawyers to facial recognition technology to keep his enemies out of his venues. You're about to hear a clip from Rain of Error. While you're listening, follow Rain of Error wherever you get your podcasts, and hey in prime members, you can listen to Rain of Error ad-free on Amazon Music. Download the Amazon Music app today. Market analysts, well they're starting to question Chuck Dolan's succession plan here, and also the stability of cable vision. Behind the scenes, this is when Chuck is beginning to support Jim's brother, Thomas, who ran a rival division within the company that focused on satellite television. So what happened was in this dynamic, Charles Dolan became infatuated with satellite, and he decided that satellite was the direction that the industry was headed. This is Peter Grant, again, the Wall Street Journal reporter we heard from at the top of the show. Chuck and Tom begin working together on a satellite division inside cable vision, and things get so bad that Jim and Tom, brothers, they stop speaking to each other. In a speech at a cable industry event, Chuck actually nods to this family drama. We have both stepped aside and permitted our well-trained, devoted humble sons to follow on our footsteps. The message is pretty clear, stay in your lane, kiddo. In 2003, Chuck and Jim flew to Cape Canaveral in Florida to launch cable vision's first satellites. But this satellite business didn't have a natural customer base, or maybe it was just ahead of its time. Either way, it was a total flop. The new venture lost more than $600 million in a single year. And maybe it was this massive loss that made Jim see. That for the first time in his life, he just might have the upper hand on his dad. Jim started making his case to the cable vision board of directors, encouraging them to shut down the satellite division, and he started to win over the board. The fact that he had so much support on the board encouraged him to do this and encouraged him to challenge his father really for the first time in his life publicly. When Jim tells the board to shut those satellites down, Chuck goes into full attack mode. He replaces a quarter of cable vision's board. He petitions the FCC to block cable vision from selling its satellites, and he buys his own website for the satellite division. He even gives cryptic messages about his son's job being secure, which makes reporters suspect the exact opposite. It started as a business decision, but it was a business part was the tip of the iceberg. The emotional part was the part that ran deep under the surface. But the two were tied together, these two men were very much emotionally tied to each other. Finally, father and son face off in that infamous board meeting. This is the one reporters have labeled D-Day for Dolans. For two hours, they're debating with cable vision staff. It's Jim on one side, it's dad and Tom on the other, and only one is going to win this fight. The meeting is incredibly secretive, but the result, the vote, is clear. Jim wins. And if Chuck and his other son want their damn satellites, they're going to have to buy on themselves. In this last battle, James stood up to his father and prevailed. I've got to guess that that permanently changed the relationship, and permanently, this is a big disappointment for Charles. I mean, he really went to the mat, and the fact that his son sort of beat him, I think, changed him and changed the relationship. Yeah, this was a huge moment for Jim. His grip on power was clear, tighter than ever. Not only did he emerge as the rightful heir of the family empire, he now at the back and near the board. So he's even more emboldened to assert himself from his other throne over the nicks and Madison Square Garden. Hey, prime members, you can listen to Rain of Error, wherever you get your podcasts, or early and ad free on Amazon Music. Follow the Amazon Music app today.