At the end of July, insightful journalist and member of the WSOP Players Advisory Council, Wendeen Eolis, broke the news of a Ful Tilt Poker deal finally being brokered between the DoJ and PokerStars.
In her latest article for Poker Player Newspaper, Eolis has now turned her attention to the plight of Full Tilt Poker board members, who have largely been viewed as villains since their disastrous business practices lead to FTP customers practically given up on ever seeing their frozen bankrolls again.
The board lines up as Ray Bitar, Rafe Furst, Chris Ferguson and Howard Lederer. However, whereas Bitar has been indicted, had assets seized and is currently under house arrest in California, the other members seem to be in for a significantly easier ride. They remain at liberty with their assets intact and as Wendeen Eolis explains:
“According to lawyers familiar with the DOJ’s seizures..Lederer’s, Ferguson’s, and Furst’s current worries with the Government in this matter are probably limited to the DOJ’s efforts to impose substantial financial penalties to settle the individual civil charges against them. These same commentators express confidence that Lederer, Ferguson and Furst will avoid more serious consequences from these matters.”
In the meantime, Lederer’s friends and associates have tried to downplay his role in the Full Tilt scandal and claim Lederer had given up his daily FTP management duties years ago and only returned to an active role in the last few months to help facilitate the deal. In addition, they assert Lederer willingly repaid a substantial part of his FTP loan while negotiations to purchase the company by Group Bernard Tapie were taking place.
Nevertheless, as Eolis goes on to comment; “Nobody, however, suggests that Lederer offered up any of his distributions to go back to FTP customers to repay their losses.” Eolis’ article further notes that Lederer’s allies believe he has been unfairly ostracized and they are currently trying to rehabilitate his image in the poker community. Chris Ferguson also faces similar challenges trying to re-ingratiate himself.
In the past, there are numerous examples of the poker world forgiving certain transgressions committed by members of its community. Given the scale of the Full Tilt scandal, however, Howard Lederer may find the vast host of wronged players not quite so ready to forgive this time around .