An incredible weekend of news and updates here at the KAP blog starts off with the war of words (and probable continuing court filings) between Phil Galfond and Bluefire Poker, the poker-training site with which Galfond has been associated from 2009-2011.
Disputes over promised payments from Bluefire to Galfond in exchange for his endorsement are at the root of the matter, and seem to be why Galfond parted ways with William Murphy, the CEO of MGH, LLC, the parent company of the Bluefire training site.
Check out the poker games going on at Bovada.lv now!
According to the court filing, Galfond was granted a 15.32% ownership share in MGH, which was to become vested over time and ultimately grow to an ownership share of 38.33%. Instead, after a fallout which seems to have begun with the alleged failure of MGH to provide 2009 and 2010 financial statements, Galfond called off his relationship with the site in November of 2011.
As Galfond stated at that time, “As of today, BluefirePoker.com and I are parting ways. It’s very hard to walk away from something I helped build from the ground up. Please know that it was a very difficult decision that I struggled with for a long, long time. I’m sorry that I can’t elaborate further.”
Galfond received annual payments in 2009 and 2010 for his services to Bluefire, receiving a $179,324.40 payment in 2009, and a $238,977.61 check in 2010, both of which were described as profit participation fees. However, Galfond was never paid in 2011.
In a statement on the site in response to the lawsuit, MGH CEO Murphy claimed that Galfond shirked his contractual duties to provide ongoing content for the site, was unprofessional to work with, and tried to find ways to get out his non-compete clause so that he could — if one reads between the lines of Murphy’s lengthy statement — perhaps offer his poker-training content for some other unnamed site(s) at a higher price.
As Murphy summed it up, “That brings us up to yesterday,” and the filing of Galfond’s suit. “It was put out in the poker news that Phil is taking me to court with a claim that I’m withholding funds. Well, that’s an interesting spin on it. Instead of saying, ‘I tried to bully BlueFire into taking a deal that no one would take, and they called my bluff so I’m going to take him to court since I won’t make a reasonable agreement.’ Again, I found out through text (not from Phil) about the announcement. We still have not received a lawsuit from Phil or his lawyer. Again, it went through the media, with a one-sided characterization of the events.”