In the world of high-stakes poker and online gambling and all the famous card sharks that come from Hollywood, we knew that finally there would be a big court case eventually with someone claiming wrongdoing by a Hollywood heavy weight. In this corner is common sense! In the other corner is Tobey Maguire, one of Hollywood’s most bankable character actors in the past decade or more. From “Spiderman” to the jockey on “Seabiscuit,” Maguire is dependable in his acting and very much a fan favorite. However, the actor has agreed to settle a lawsuit he’s been facing and is paying back $80,000 to settle the suit, which sought $300,000 in poker winnings paid out by convicted con man Brad Ruderman.
See how unseemly this story seems to evolve into? Not the sort of thing a Hollywood A-list star should be a part of, many believe. The talented actor signed the “compromise” settlement last Tuesday, court filings show. If approved by a judge, Maguire will pay the amount to a bankruptcy trustee who is trying to recoup money — paid out by Ruderman during celebrity-studded Texas Hold ‘Em games — for the duped investors.
The trustee said Tobey Maguire was getting a good deal by settling early. “I disagree with Maguire in regard to the amount of the transfers that likely constitute funds of (Ruderman). However, I have agreed to the reduced settlement amount in the actor’s agreement of $80,000 based on the risks and costs associated with litigation,” trustee Howard Ehrenberg said in a statement to the court. Ehrenberg told the Associated Press, adding it all together the settlements total $1.7 million. The pact does not require Maguire, 36, to admit any wrongdoing. Maguire claimed in an earlier court filing that he lost $168,500 to Ruderman during unlucky hands – and that the money had to be deducted from any proven liability.
He also claimed to know little about how the unlicensed Texas Hold ‘Em games, which catered to celebs and wealthy businessmen, were operated.“(Maguire) strongly disputes that he violated any laws, rules or regulations in regard to participating in the poker games,” the settlement states.
Ruderman, who’s serving a 10-year federal prison sentence, has acknowledged running up millions of dollars in gambling debts. Settlements have already been made to others, including “Welcome Back, Kotter” star Gabe Kaplan, who agreed to pay $27,900 to settle a claim he received $62,000 in winnings from Ruderman. New York filmmaker Nick Cassavetes is fighting an Ehrenberg suit that seeks $73,800 in former payouts. Though, Cassavetes lawyer has argued the statute of limitations has passed and that the private games were perfectly legal.
With at least 15 million Americans out of work, doesn’t all of this make you want to run out and buy these actors’ DVD’s? Not! I am the least perfect person on the planet, but don’t these superstars with so much wealth and fame ever think what these things actually look like to the adoring and loyal fan-base?
Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photograph Courtesy: Bobby Head/Link 81 Collection
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