Borgata Tracks Phil Ivey Assets, Seeks to Docket Judgment in Nevada

Borgata Hotel Casino Spa [Pic: PilotBob]

The Borgata’s latest post-judgment filing in its long-running legal battle with Phil Ivey is a motion to have the casino’s docket and $10.13m (£7.7m) judgment filed in the state of Nevada, where Ivey resides and has identifiable financial assets.

The failure of professional poker player and high-stakes gambler Phil Ivey to post a $10.13m appellate bond in his legal battle against New Jersey’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa has triggered a response motion from the casino’s counsel, asking that the case’s original judgment be docketed in Nevada.

The move comes after an investigation on the Borgata’s behalf turned up no evidence of any active assets owned by Ivey or his co-defendant, Cheung Yin Sun, in New Jersey, where the ruling in the Borgata’s favor was handed down in late 2016 and finalized a couple of months ago. The US federal civil case laws allow the owners of a judgment to identify and target assets in other states, though such measures require formal courtroom approval.

The Borgata’s parent company, Marina Development District Co. LLC, took the first steps toward attaching Ivey’s known assets in Nevada by filing its motion on Tuesday, October 9. The motion declares that Ivey and Sun have still failed to post the $10.13m supersedeas bond and that a 14-day waiting period relevant to that bond posting has now elapsed. Ivey and Sun originally sought a stay of the bond until the appeal itself is eventually decided. However, initial presiding judge Noel L. Hillman ruled against the pair’s hardship claims, allowing the Borgata to take the initial steps to force the $10.13 million or its equivalent in assets owned by Ivey and Sun within reach of legal collection efforts.

Empty bank account in New Jersey

The Borgata filed several exhibits showing its efforts to identify assets owned by Ivey in both New Jersey and Nevada. In New Jersey, the casino identified a single account held by Ivey at a Wells Fargo bank branch and served a writ upon the bank to determine the account’s contents but was notified that the account had no funds.

The Borgata’s efforts in Nevada were somewhat more successful, with the casino locating one condominium and four businesses owned either entirely or partially by Ivey. The condo was purchased a decade ago for just under $279,000 (£212,000), and its current value is indeterminate. The four corporate entities connected to Ivey include those associated with his Ivey League and Ivey Poker ventures, though one of the four business entities appears to have been closed in 2014.

Also no longer available as a potential asset target for the Borgata is a $2m (£1.5m) house in Summerlin that Ivey sold in 2013, according to property records, following his divorce from his former wife Luciaetta in 2012.

The Borgata has identified one luxury property in Mexico that Ivey appears to own, an oceanside villa in Cabo San Lucas that Ivey had previously posted about, with pictures, on his Instagram account. Ivey also wired in money from a bank account in Mexico to bankroll his four visits to the Borgata where his and Sun’s complex edge-sorting mini-baccarat scheme played out. However, the Borgata will have significantly more trouble going after assets Ivey has in other countries than those in other US states.

Borgata asserts right to pursue Nevada assets

In its filing, Borgata attorney Jeremy M. Klausner wasted no verbiage in asserting the casino’s rights to expand its collection efforts to Nevada, focusing on the casino’s rights to collect the 2016 judgment and the current failure of Ivey and Sun to post the supersedeas bond after losing on their attempt to stay that bond.

Klausner wrote: “Defendant Ivey has substantial assets in Nevada. That is where he lives and that is where his businesses are based. In contrast, he has no identifiable assets in New Jersey. Given the foregoing, Borgata satisfies the ‘mere showing that the defendant has substantial property in the other district and insufficient [property] in the rendering district.’ As a result, good cause is shown and Borgata should be permitted to register this Court’s December 15, 2016, in the District of Nevada.”

Other Related News