Borgata / Phil Ivey Update: Judgment Docketing Approved, Borg Sought to Attach WSOP Winnings
The search by Atlantic City, New Jersey’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa to unearth and attach any of Phil Ivey’s assets in Nevada has undergone further developments, including an interesting twist. A formal writ of execution was filed against Ivey and his co-defendant, “Kelly” Cheng Yin Sun in Nevada on June 18, 2019 and approved the following day, in the amount of the initial $10.13 million judgment along with interest and court fees.
Then, eight days after officially docketing the New Jersey judgment into Nevada, Borgata counsel Jeremy M. Klausner filed additional paperwork in an apparent attempt to seize any money won by Ivey at the recently concluded 2019 World Series of Poker.
The latest developments show the Borgata’s diligence in identifying and identifying and targeting any Nevada Ivey assets that can be seized, even as anecdotal evidence has surfaced elsewhere that Ivey may not be nearly as wealthy as many have previously presumed.
The latest chapter in the saga picks off where the matter rested in February, when Borgata counsel Klausner received approval from the New Jersey court that issued the $10.13 million judgment against Ivey and Sun in the high-profile “edge sorting” case. More than four months elapsed, however, with the judgment not actually having been docketed into the Nevada system. Once allowed by New Jersey, that’s the mandatory next legal step for the Borgata to attempt to seize and Ivey or Sun assets it could locate in the Silver State, with the emphasis being on Ivey, a resident of Las Vegas.
Whether the four-month delay was intentional or due to a procedural oversight isn’t clear. And, even though the writ of execution was approved, it may still contain an error that currently shows the Borgata eligible to pursue a total sum of more than $20 million, due to the base judgment amount being accounted for twice. As the shown images illustrate, the Borgata appears to have listed an extra $214,518 in accrued interest, for a $10,344,518 total. However, that total was entered (perhaps erroneously) in a line entry denoted “ACCRUED INTERESTS, COSTS AND FEES” to which the original $10.13 million judgment was re-added an approved by the Nevada court clerk for a total of $20,474,992.12.
It seems likely that this filing may be revised at a later date, unless the Borgata is indeed claiming accrued costs and fees already matching the initial judgment. Given the years of lawyer fees likely undertaken by Klausner’s law firm, this can’t be ruled out.
However, the official docketing of the $10.13 judgment is only part of the latest chapter. Sometime on June 26 or early on June 27th, the Borgata or Klausner appears to have become aware that Ivey was participating in Event #58 at the 2019 WSOP, the coveted $50,000 Poker Players Championship, and had already made it into the money.
Klausner appears to have hurriedly dashed off a copy of the approved Nevada writ of execution against Ivey to the Caesars-owned WSOP, where Ivey was playing. The process was noted as served on June 27, 2019, and also named “Caesars Entertainment Corp., D/B/A Rio Las Vegas, and/or World Series of Poker” as the location served. However, the service receipt shows that the accepting party was the WSOP’s Vice President of the World Series of Poker, Jack Effel. This shouldn’t be deemed as unusual, given that play may not have begun that day, and even it had, a process server seeking Ivey possibly wouldn’t have been allowed to walk out in front of the cameras that were often filming and streaming the high-profile $50,000 PPC. The Borg’s idea was to drag the WSOP into a seizure battle for Ivey’s winnings, anyway.
Ivey eventually busted from the PPC in eighth place for a total of $124,410. Did the Borgata successfully seize those winnings? The WSOP and Caesars have a long history of never commenting on active litigation, even if it doesn’t directly involve them. Here the WSOP was dragged into the foray through no fault of its own, but rather largely due to Ivey’s hubris. Yet the situation raises other interesting topics for conjecture.
Ivey played several events at the 2019 WSOP including the $50,000 PPC and the $10,000 Main Event, which began several days later. There, playing in the Day 1C flight, Ivey donked off his $10,000 buy-in a most un-Ivey-like fashion, busting in 51 minutes. In light of the court filings, one has to ask: Did he bust semi-intentionally, knowing that any winnings were likely to be seized anyway?
It’s an interesting addition to the Borgata-Ivey battle at the very least. It may also mark the last time that Ivey plays a high-profile poker tourney in Nevada until the whole legal situation is completely resolved.
Despite stories published elsewhere that Ivey may be worth $100 million or more, recent anecdotes suggest otherwise. Ivey is reported to have taken an extended bath lasting two years or more in the famed high-stakes games in Macau, and to have been playing while staked or backed to stay in action. Also uncertain is to whether has been accompanied by a bodyguard in his recent Nevada cash-game and tourney forays; that was an expensive add-on that was nonetheless ever-present during his top-of-the world years. Ivey likely does have some millions still, secreted offshore, as with his lavish seaside home in Mexico, but the current reality does not seem to match the ultra-rich, successful pro image.