Saturday, December 23, 2006

Thursday Hearing Deals Jamie "Kobe" Gold a Major Cooler in Leyser Dispute

Poker Prof over at Las Vegas Vegas was, I believe, the first with news on the Thursday hearing held in the matter of the half of Jamie Gold's $12 million first-place winnings from the 2006 WSOP Main Event, due to his verbal agreements with Crispin Leyser. Leyser helped land celebrities to play under the Bodog banner and indirectly paved the way for Gold's own complimentary seat. We're not going to recap the whole thing here, because if you don't know about it or care about it, you're not likely to start at this point.

What we will do, however, is note that things didn't go Gold's way on Thursday. As presiding judge Roger Hunt is reported to have stated, referring to Gold, "His actions, in the court's view, do not give the plaintiff [Leyser] much assurance that the money would, in fact, be available in the event of a judgment in his favor."

That's a rather direct way in judge-speak of stating that Gold has been less than honest in this matter, and the proof is only now working its way into public view. Leyser lawyers Chesnoff and Schonfeld filed a petition on Leyser's behalf in response to earlier Gold claims, one that clearly demonstrates that there's more to Leyser's case than that infamous cel-phone message, damning though that was. The Leyser documents are now showing up in several web locations, with one of the first being on this page at The Shark Tank. We'll mention a couple of the highlights below, but anyone wanting to read the document in its entirety should go there and reward the Shark Tank site with a few web site hits for their efforts in bringing the document to a larger audience.

Okay, the skinny. Here's just some of why Gold's defense now seems paper-thin. According to the Leyser petition:

1) Gold admitted to the sharing deal in an August 13th web pobcast for the Rounders Radio Poker Show as he was being interviewed immediately following his win;

2) Gold may well have backdated his own signed contract with Bodog in an attempt to disguise the real nature of his agreements with Leyser and others;

3) Gold attempted to transfer the $12 million out of the Rio's possession and into his own corporate holdings, shortly after the tourney's conclusion, this without telling Leyser and despite the widespread knowledge of the Gold/Leyser agreement;

4) Gold began working with an agent named Chris Porter from representing firm Poker Royalty, and Gold had Porter contact Leyser on August 7th, in expectation of the windfall both players were expected to receive;

5) Gold's assertions as to irreparable tax harm were groundless, as the Rio was quite willing to file separate tax declarations (Forms 5754) assuming a split of winnings; however, the casino (for obvious reasons) does not issue multiple Form W-2G (special income earned statements) for any single given amount;

6) Gold also had an additional backing deal with someone named "Eric," for 10% of any eventual winnings, and he has significantly underpaid this third party as well.

Yikes. No word from the Gold camp yet, now assumed to be licking their wounds and determining what, if anything, can be saved. Onlookers who have had a chance to comment on the Leyser petition and the recent hearing have found plenty of fodder, such as this statement from the petition by David Chesnoff, the filing attorney: "The only truthful statement in Defendant's Motion [referring to Gold's earlier filing] is that 'Gold no longer intends to share his winnings.'"

As for the "Kobe" thing in the title? That comes from a line later on, where Chesnoff describes Gold as the "self-proclaimed Kobe Bryant of the poker industry."

Moving on. Nothing to see here at all....

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