Montel Williams has been somewhat of a staple in the poker community for several years, not only participating in tournaments on a regular basis but also attending and hosting numerous charity poker events. But out of an effort to increase his visibility in the poker world by starting the International Team Poker League in 2008 has grown a lawsuit by investor Guardian Gaming Ltd. that claims it is owed its initial investment of $300,000 in addition to other damages and compensation.
Williams founded the International Team Poker League (ITPL) in 2008 after seeing the success of team poker leagues like Dream Team Poker. The ITPL was originally set to start in 2009 with qualifiers at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas, though no word on its actual progress has been reported, in order to produce a tournament set to start on January 29 and a “Super Table” that will be televised for a poker reality show in 2010. In order to push forward in July of 2008, Guardian Gaming Ltd. was given a 25 percent stake in the company for making an initial $300K investment, establishing and operating a collaborative internet gaming site, and assisting with additional payments.
But according to the lawsuit filed on December 18 by Guardian in the U.S. District Court in Clark County Nevada, another company was hired to provide the same exact services, and Williams on behalf of ITPL broke the contract with Guardian in September of 2008. Five counts are listed in the suit - breach of contract, intentional misrepresentation, fraud, unjust enrichment and conversion - and Guardian asked the court to order the return of the initial $300K investment, punitive damages, prejudgment interest, and the payment of legal fees. Guardian actually attempted to file the same type of suit in Illinois earlier in the year, as it is William’s state of residence, but the case was dismissed due to procedural concerns.
As the suit reads, “Either Williams and IPL did not intend to fulfill their contractual obligations to Guardian and/or Williams identified another company and concluded this other company could complete the tasks delegated to Guardian in the agreement on preferable terms… Defendants made such representations with the intent to defraud and induce Guardian into paying the initial investment.”
Williams has yet to make a statement about the case or file any court papers in response.