Sunday, September 29, 2013

Robert Williamson III in Vodka Lawsuit with "Real Housewives" Star

Sometimes the weirdest stories just pop up out of the blue.  This weekend's example: Veteran poker player Robert Williamson III has filed a lawsuit against a longtime cast member of the "Real Housewives of Orange County," Vicki Gunvalson.

Gunvalson is the only remaining member of the long-running Bravo series' original cast, which is now entering its ninth season.  (I've never seen it, being allergic to such cheesy faux Hollywood-lifestyle reality shows.)

Anyhow, RW III has issued a statement of sorts on the purported dissolution of the company making the Gunvalson-fronted hooch, Vicki's Vodka, claiming that statements made by Gunvalson that she's shutting down the operation can't be true, because Williamson is the majority owner.

The following statement was published on PR Newswire by a paid publicist hired by Williamson.  It shouldn't be treated as the gospel truth, even though it's been reported as such in a couple of small outlets without note of the story's source and obvious bias.

"... Explains How He was Set up" [sic], LOL.

Still, it's a cute read.  Umm, Robert?  Next time, don't forget to put the name of the company in your hack piece.  Whether it's true or not hasn't emerged as yet.  Readers, enjoy...:

Majority Owner Of Vicki's Vodka Says Real Housewives' Vicki Gunvalson Can't Pull The Plug On Vicki's Vodka; She Doesn't Have Controlling Interest

Robert Williamson III's Lawsuit Explains How He was Set up

LAS VEGAS, Sept. 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The attorney for Robert Williamson III, Stan Johnson, says he is at a complete loss in trying to understand Vicki Gunvalson's outlandish published claim that she is "Pulling the plug" on the Vicki's Vodka project because the majority owner of the company is Robert Williamson III.

Johnson says Williamson, a professional poker player, invested more than $300,000 dollars into Vicki's Vodka. Vicki Gunvalson invested approximately $12,500. When the project imploded, Williamson filed a federal lawsuit against Gunvalson, her sometimes boyfriend Brooks Ayers and others alleging fraud, civil conspiracy and breach of contract in addition to other serious claims.

The reason that the lawsuits were filed is that Vicki did not honor her original contract to Vicki's Vodka nor her settlement agreement that was initiated by her and her publicist Richard Heard.
"Her latest public statement is nothing more than an obvious charade," said Johnson. "It is absolutely clear who owns Vicki's Vodka and who is supposed to have operational control over the project. Gunvalson has stated in a written, signed, and notarized agreement that Williamson owns 66.7% of the project, she owns the remaining equity. She also agreed not to interfere in day-to-day operations. She doesn't have the ability to 'pull the plug' and it's pretty clear she knows that."

According to the lawsuit, Gunvalson tried to repair the business relationship with Williamson, as recently as July 15th of this year, signing a settlement agreement to pay him $121,000 and agreeing to strict performance standards for her promotion of the company. The lawsuit alleges Gunvalson breached the agreement almost immediately.

The company has a tortured history. The lawsuit states that one of the founders who originally owned one third of the company, Michael Nicholson, returned his equity to Williamson and Gunvalson in August 2012 because "Nicholson had misused and/or could not account for company funds." Williamson and Gunvalson once again became 50-50 partners. That ended when Gunvalson gave 16.67% of her ownership of the company to her on-again-off-again boyfriend Brooks Ayers.

According to the lawsuit, Ayers then asked Williamson to buy Ayers' shares because he owed child support and back payments to the IRS also, and if he did not immediately make a payment to both of them, he was imminently facing jail time.

The lawsuit states that Gunvalson repeatedly asked Williamson to purchase Brooks Ayers' shares for $50,000 in the best interest of the company; Williamson then paid and took over Brooks 16.67% of the company.

"That was the biggest mistake of my life," said Williamson. "Since that time, Vicki has been completely unresponsive and ineffective in marketing from the day that she and Brooks got the final payment."

"I have complete faith in the judicial system and based on the facts and truths, I have absolute confidence that justice will prevail and that the wrongs committed against me will be made right," said Williamson.

Robert Williamson III is a world-class poker player who has a World Series of Poker bracelet that he won in 2002, among other titles. He created and headlines the "Derby Poker Championship" a nationally recognized charity poker event at the Kentucky Derby that is attended by more than 1,000 of the biggest charitable donors in the sport of horse racing.


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