Keeping our readers updated on all the latest rumblings from Hollywood and the high stakes poker games involving Tinsel Town’s A-Listers is not easy. As you may suspect, keeping all the facts sorted from rumor is not a simple task. We have researched reliable sources and found the latest news relating to the Hollywood games and the lawsuits flying across the table and here they are.
As we reported earlier Tobey Maguire of Spiderman fame is being sued for his supposed winnings while playing Texas Holdem and beating Bradley Ruderman who is now serving time for running a Ponzi scheme. The court documents state the actor won $311,000 from Ruderman and his bilked investors want it back – plus interest. Maguire’s attorney however, notes in court filings that Spiderman didn’t just book wins; he also lost $168,500 to the convicted con man.
In court filings last week in L.A. Superior Court, the documents state that the actor did nothing wrong by playing in the poker games; therefore he shouldn't be required to turn over any of his winnings to Ponzi investors. Maguire’s attorney, Robert Barta said Maguire "unconditionally denies having engaged in any conduct whatsoever in violation of law and further categorically denies having knowingly or intentionally participated in any fraudulent scheme." Maguire's response also states that he did not know whether or not the games were so-called controlled games, or whether the venues he played at were licensed to host games. According to Barta, “As far as he knew, he was just accepting invitations to play poker.”
Barta also says that if a bankruptcy court rules that Maguire has to turn over any of his winnings, he should be credited for the $168,500 he lost to Ruderman. Maguire's response also denied that they were "controlled games" or that a woman (Molly Bloom) accused of coordinating the tournaments was also responsible for making sure winners were paid. Maguire does admit he received the payments from Ruderman however contrary to other reports, he denied there was a group of regular poker players that included "wealthy celebrities, entrepreneurs, attorneys and businessmen."
While it was originally reported that only Maguire was being targeted for a lawsuit, it now has come to light that 21 others, including "The Notebook" director Nick Cassavetes were also served in March. Cassavetes attorney Ronald Richards has also denied wrongdoing and Nick will fight any efforts to recover the $73k from him because he feels he won it fair and square.
Also served were businessman Alec Gores who is being tapped for $445,600 and Welcome Back Kotter actor Gabe Kaplan for the $62,000 he supposedly won. Molly Bloom, who is accused of setting up the poker games, is also being sued for the $475,000 she is said to have pocketed in fees for services which included renting the venue and hiring dealers. No word yet from others who may have been served including well known regular players such as Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Leonardo DiCaprio.
In an effort to recoup more than $4 million that Ruderman lost in the poker games, the bankruptcy trustee’s lawsuits claim the unlicensed games were illegal and the winners shouldn’t be able keep their ill-gotten gains. "It's my belief that the games under California law were illegal because they were being hosted for money," trustee Howard Ehrenberg said in an interview last week. Since Ruderman paid many of his losses with checks, it was easy for Ehrenberg to trace the payments. After seeing where the money went, Ehrenberg is now trying to seize the money from the winners to repay the Ponzi investors. Ehrenberg recently stated that he hopes several of the cases will be resolved without them going to trial.