Leyser wins motion to keep $6 million on ice

There was a hearing on the issues I described in my last post yesterday and the judge ruled that the money was to remain frozen. He clearly doesn’t believe Gold’s claims. He suggested that Gold was likely to abscond with the loot if he got his hands on it and he stated that Leyser was likely to prevail when the trial was held. This is a slam-dunk victory for Leyser.

If Gold has any sense, he will try to settle this quickly so that he can save face in the poker world just a little.

Here is a typical wire service story on the decision.

I’ll end with a highly amusing quote from the Leyser court file:

In order to believe the Defendant’s version of events, which is unsupported and is merely a self-serving statement of the Defendant, the Court would have to believe that on August 11, 2006, after being guarenteed at least $1,200,000 in the World Series of Poker Main Event, the Defendant contacted Crispin Leyser, who he had known for one month and who had been repeatedly harassing him during the poker tournament, to confirm his “promise” to Crispin that he would receive half of Defendant’s winnings, and that the Defendant did all of this because he felt sorry for Crispin.

Well, when you put it that way…


Leyser fires back in Gold lawsuit

Let’s review for just a second. Crispin Leyser filed suit to force Jamie Gold to pay the half of his winnings from the WSOP Main Event. Leyser claims that he helped Gold to secure a seat from Bodog by supplying two minor celebrities to play in the WSOP. A month or two ago, Gold filed court papers claiming essentially that Leyser was harassing him and that there was never a deal made like that. He agrees that he was willing to pay half of his winnings, but only because he “felt sorry” for Leyser. The court is currently holding up the $6 million in question pending the outcome of the trial. Gold asked the court to free up the money and award it to him now.

Recently, the attorneys in the case took depositions of both Gold and Leyser and now Leyser has responded to Gold’s charges. As I predicted elsewhere, it is great stuff. There is some lawyer-speak, but it is actually more direct than most stuff I’ve read. My favorite line is in the summary stuff up front, where they address Gold’s affidavit and say “The only truthful assertion in Defendant’s Motion is that ‘Gold no longer intends to share his winnings’.” *snort*

Leyser appears to me to pretty effectively dismantles Gold’s claims. As they say, “Defendant claims it was a promise to make a gift; however, his assertion is belied by the record.” Gold claims that he was getting the seat from Bodog no matter what and that the celebrities were not a part of the decision. He produced a contract from Bodog that he signed on July 13th that doesn’t mention the celebrities at all. Leyser points out a number of holes in this claim. Most interestingly, they have an email from Bodog that provided a contract to both Gold and Lillard in the same message (asking Gold to forward a copy to Lillard) dated July 13th. It sure looks like the two had at least some connection. Gold also admits in his deposition that he may not have signed the contract until much later and back-dated it. He also admits that he has no version signed by Bodog and isn’t certain that there ever was one. That makes it not much of a “contract.” They also produced a transcript of the Rounders podcast where Gold seems to state pretty clearly that he might not have got the Bodog seat without Leyser’s help. He mentions him by name and in a positive light, which tends to belie his claim that he was angry at Leyser for stalking him during the WSOP.

There is an interesting bombshell about the timing of all that as well. Gold also claimed in his earlier motion that he became angry when Leyser filed suit and that he was going to pay his “gift” up until that unprovoked act of aggression. It seems clear from the new documents that Leyser only filed suit when Gold tried to get the Rio to wire all $12 million of the money to a bank in California. Under questioning, Gold admitted that he had tried to secure the full $12 million without telling Leyser he was doing so.

There is also another backer named “Eric” who is apparently entitled to 10%. He has chosen not to go public or reveal the details of his arrangement. Eric’s 10% should be $1.2 million, but so far Gold has only paid him $100,000 to $200,000, according to his own testimony.

Gold said in his motion that Leyser refused to share in a tip to the dealers. In his deposition he admits that Leyser agreed to share the dealer tip 50/50 and he also agreed to give 25 from his share to a Bodog rep. Leyser even agreed to pay half of the 10% to Eric. It appears that the claim in the motion was a lie.

Now for a little bit on the law itself. In order to maintain the injunction, Leyser has to show (1) a reasonable likelihood of success on the merits of the case; (2) irreparable harm if the injunction is lifted; (3) who is more damaged if the money is held or released; and (4) the public interest. I’ve sometimes seen only the first two criteria listed. I think that Leyser has a reasonable chance of success because the claim that it was just a proposed gift stinks. The only evidence of that at all is some lame BS after the lawsuit was filed. I thought that Leyser was going to lose on (2), because there was no clear harm to him if Gold held the money. In this brief, Leyser makes a pretty good case that if Gold collects the money, the whole IRS situation will be completely FUBAR. He has brought a tax guy in who seems to say that the way we were going to do the ITH People’s Champion chop is the right way. He wants them to do a 5754, just the way we were planning. There is some implication that Israel (the expert Gold used in the first filing) doesn’t know what he’s doing. Leyser (just as Gold did before him) suggests that the other guy is going to do some weasel action and not pay his taxes and he doesn’t want to get tied up in the other guy’s trouble. He says that Gold is trying to funnel it through a corporation to avoid his obligations. That is consistent with the voice mail message. He also throws in the “degenerate gambler who will lose it all” argument, but I think that one will not fly. The argument that it creates negative tax consequences that cannot be undone may be a winner. The other two seem like grounders, if he can win the first two.

They will have a hearing and reach a decision soon.

I’m not sure how overwhelming the bandwidth demands will be, so I’ll just put up the Leyser response without Exhibits at first. If I don’t get buried, I’ll post the exhibits too. The one with the transcripts of Gold’s deposition is particularly amusing.

Leyser’s Response to Motion to Dissolve Preliminary Injunction

Exhibit A1 — Gold’s deposition transcript (Part 1)

Exhibit A2 — Gold’s deposition transcript (Part 2)

Exhibit B is boring.  It is some tax guy’s resume and the IRS forms for claiming gambling winnings

Exhibit C — Email from Bodog sending contract to both Gold and Lillard 

Exhibit D is a transcript of the Rounders podcast we talked about months ago.

Exhibit E is just a fax cover sheet proving that Gold did know the suit was coming.