Update on the Jamie Gold, Crispin Leyser $6 million dispute

by Lou on December 26, 2006

The last few weeks have not been particularly kind to 2006 World Series of Poker champ Jamie Gold. He lost his father to ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) recently, and in a case related to his 2006 WSOP victory, U.S. District Court Judge Roger Hunt turned down his motion to remove the injunction that’s freezing half of his $12 million win.

The injunction is part of a $6 million lawsuit filed by Crispin Leyser (pictured along with Jamie is better days), who alleges that Gold – who was sponsored by Bodog – agreed to split any WSOP winnings with him. To earn this split, Leyser would be required to find celebrities to would wear Bodog logo gear while they played in the tournament. Leyser succeeded in this, arranging for “Scooby-Doo” star Mathew Lillard and comedian Dax Shepard to wear Bodog hats and shirts.

Gold claimed half of his $12 million first prize at the conclusion of the tournament, but the disputed $6 million remains with the WSOP’s host site, the Rio Hotel and Casino, pending the outcome of this dispute or a release of the injunction.

Leyser’s most compelling evidence is a voice mail of Gold promising to pay Leyser half on anything he wins. When Gold refused to pay his share, Leyser went to court and secured an injunction to freeze $6 million of the total $12 first place prize.

In his defense, Gold claims he only intended to give some — but not half — of his winnings to Leyser. Leyser subsequently filed an affidavit stating that his arrangement with Gold was a binding business deal, not a gift.

Judge Roger Hunt refused to lift the injunction, saying, “His [Gold’s] 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.”

He then added that, “The likelihood of success weighs on the side of the plaintiff [Leyser],” a strong sign that Leyser is likely to win his claim for the disputed $6 million.
While Leyser’s lawyers hailed the judge’s decision and got in one last dig at Gold when David Chesnoff commented, “We’re pleased with this result because it prevents the money from being squandered by someone who admits he didn’t keep his promise.”

Patrick Byrne, who represents Jamie Gold, claims to be, “Disappointed, yes, but not surprised.”

One point of agreement was to have the judge move the disputed $6 million into an interest-bearing account for the duration of the case. Even at a paltry four percent annually, that’s not chump change; it’s more than a quarter million a year.

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