by Haley Hintze
Lederer Assets Listed in Amended DOJ Complaint
The Department of Justice has filed an amended civil complaint against former Full Tilt executives, which lists 12 different possible claims for relief for asset seizure, and details expensive homes and cars for two of the execs, Howard Lederer and Ray Bitar, which the DOJ claims are directly traceable to funds received from Full Tilt. Lederer’s Hawk Ridge property on Las Vegas’ western edge, which cost $11 million to build, highlighted the list, along with five other Lederer properties and a handful of expensive autos, including a Maserati, a vintage 1965 Shelby, and several Audis. Three Bitar California properties, including a $3.5M Fontana, CA gas station complex, were also listed. The DOJ seeks civil forfeitures of at least $42.5 from Lederer, and $40.8 million from Bitar, plus at least $42 million from Chris Ferguson, and $11.7 million from Rafe Furst.
Virginia Poker Hall Operator to Appeal Case
A Virginia poker-hall entrepreneur who unsuccessfully filed suit to keep his operation open under pressure from local authorities has announced an appeal of his case’s dismissal to the Virginia state Supreme Court. Charles Daniels, of Portsmouth, was forced to shutter his Poker Palace operation in 2011, after being open for several years. Daniels attempted to convince the courts of poker’s skill nature, with the help of the PPA, but was unsuccessful in his 2011 case. However, the recent federal decision in US v DiCristina, where the presiding judge threw out a conviction while citing evidence of poker’s skill facets, has prompted the Daniels appeal.
French Partouche Poker Tour Collapses Following Guaranteed Prize Pool Controversy
An off-again, on-again €5,000,000 guarantee for the latest Partouche Poker Tour in Cannes, France found the PPT officials scrambling even as they announced the end of the PPT. Event organizers temporarily reneged on a September events €5M guarantee after event registration left the prize fund over €700,000 short, and restored the previously announced guarantee only after a widespread outcry in media, forums, and social networks. One PPT official publicly offered his resignation in the heat of the scandal, which involved promotional banners being modified to erase earlier mentions of the €5M guarantee. Ole Schemion won the PPT’s final event.
AP Owners Continue Contesting Asset Seizure
Legal skirmishes between the owners of Absolute Poker and the US Department of Justice continued in early September, with the two sides trading legal memos over DOJ efforts to bar AP ownership group, Avoine Servico de Consultadoria e Marketing, from further AP asset claims. Lawyers for the Avoine owners—believed to be the core group of U. of Montana frat boys who founded AP—are trying to retain control of AP’s software and mailing lists despite a murky and obfuscated ownership trail that involves other supposed controlling interests, such as Blanca Games. The battle is part of the greater “Black Friday” family of legal actions, and the presiding judge has yet to rule on the ownership dispute.
2012 Poker Hall Of Fame Nominees Announced
Six first-time nominees will join four returning poker names on the final ballot for induction into the Poker Hall of Fame. First-time finalists are Chris Bjorin, David Chiu, Eric Drache, Thor Hansen, George Hardie, and Bryan “Sailor” Roberts, who will be joined by returning nominees, Jennifer HarmanTraniello, John Juanda, Tom McEvoy, and Scotty Nguyen.
Veteran poker-industry writer/editor Haley Hintze is the author of an upcoming book on the Absolute Poker and UltimateBet online cheating scandals, to be released later this year