Pokernews revealed parts five and six of their exclusive interview with Howard Lederer regarding the demise of Full Tilt Poker recently. We are going to break down exactly what was said in that interview.
Part 5 – The aftermath of Black Friday
Part five of the exclusive Pokernews interview with Howard Lederer got underway with Lederer being asked why Full Tilt Poker continued to accept all new player deposits from overseas based players despite the fact that Ray Bitar had sent an email revealing that Full Tilt would not even be able to absorb just a $5 million bank run.
He claimed that he had obviously thought about it a lot and had even called a bankruptcy counsel in April which included many experts in bankruptcy law, just to clarify the situation to see if they should or should not go into bankruptcy.
He then went on to claim that his own personal concerns were that of trying to preserve all of the company’s assets and trying to find a buyer so that the players can all be paid. Lederer was asked if PokerStars who was at the time the biggest rival to Full Tilt Poker were one of those early suitors.
He said that they could have been in the mix and that he admits that there was a text message sent to Chris Ferguson on the matter, though in those early days Ray Bitar did not think it would be a good idea.
The $150 million lawsuit filed by Ivey on Full Tilt Poker was described as “absurd” by Lederer as he claimed that Full Tilt obviously had very little cash in hand at that point, whilst the company’s assets were weakening at a rapid rate.
Ivey wanted to be able to break free from his contract from to allow him to be represented by other sites yet he still wanted to keep all of his shares in Full Tilt Poker. Lederer claimed that this lawsuit angered him because of the situation the company was already in and Ivey was making it worse.
He also believed that there was very little chance of Ivey being backed by any other poker site anyway until the mess was sorted out at Full Tilt.
When asked what he felt about a large section of the poker community commending Ivey for his stand against the company, Lederer claimed Ivey was only doing it for himself and not for anybody else.
Part Six – The $2 Million Mistake
Part six of the exclusive Pokernews interview with Howard Lederer centered on the loan policy that Full Tilt had with its sponsored poker professionals. With Lederer claiming that because of the huge backlog that was owed, these loans to pros were being called in.
He said that the board quickly let the members know that there were certain members who owed money to the company and that the money was needed back as soon as possible. He also stated that there was a lot of resistance to this and that in fact the only player who owed money and had paid the amount back in full by the end of May 2011 was himself. He claimed he owed around $700,000 of which he repaid in full near the end of the month.
He then said that under the urging of Gus Hansen he also paid back another $300,000 which was in fact his account balance on the site. The only other player to pay back in full was Phil Gordon who cleared his small loan of $11,000.
Apart from that, players Phil Ivey, David Oppenheim, Erick Lindgrem, Ray Bitar and John Juanda all had outstanding loans of which none of them paid back. This was despite being asked on numerous occasions to do so.
When asked the reasons why these players didn’t pay Lederer claimed that in the case of Oppenheim, the player argued that Full Tilt was asking $100,000 more than the original loan. However, what happened with Lindgren was in a whole new ball park.
Just one week before Black Friday Ferguson had loaned Lindgren two million from Full Tilt. Apparently Lingren needed the money to be able to pay off another player on Full Tilt, so that money was then transferred to the player in question who made the withdrawal.
Lederer then went on to admit that he doesn’t quite know how it happened but a mix up in communications meant that Lindgren was also wired two million to his bank account. So in essence the player was paid twice for the same loan.
Lederer stated that Ferguson had called Lindgren to try and reclaim the money with Ferguson telling Lederer that it had all been sorted out. Except Lindgren never actually sent any money back, so Lederer spoke to Lindgren once he was knocked out of the Main Event and asked him about the extra two million.
With Just one more edition of the Lederer files to be released, we really do wait with anticipation to see what else will be revealed.
According to Lederer, Lindgren claimed that he thought he owed the money to Ferguson rather than the company. Still to this day that money has not been paid back and Lederer claims that money like that could have helped lessen the stress on the company at that time with regards to paying players back their money.
Ferguson Sent $14 Million!
Ferguson gave the company $14 million to help with the current crisis, with Lederer explaining that Ferguson had this money from distributions in the company which he had not taken because he simply didn’t want it. On the 15th April Bitar told Ferguson that the company really needed that money. Ferguson sent the money in with Lederer claiming that would anyone else in the situation that Chris was in simply give his own $14 million to the site with no strings being attached to it?