The Montreal Open, which Full Tilt Poker used to sponsor, is now feeling the adverse affects of Black Friday. This poker event raised funds for Miriam Foundation, a charitable organization that aims at helping kids suffering from learning disabilities. Since FTP used to give away the prizes to the winners of the Montreal Open, the winners of the 2011 Montreal Open might have to return home with nothing.
To make things worse for the Miriam Foundation, event organizers DV Sterling Enterprises Inc., Morden C. Lazarus aka Cookie, and David Sachs have developed another charity poker tournament called Montreal PartyPoker Classic, which is being sponsored by Party Poker and meant to raise funds for Jodi Lazarus Fund for Hereditary Breast Cancer.
Since preliminary reports had indicated that the name Montreal Open would be retained, the event organizers denied those reports, owing to which Miriam Foundation moved court. The charity has also claimed that it owns the sole right to the Montreal Open name.
Cookie, one of the event organizers, has challenged Miriam Foundation’s right to the name in the superior court. Simultaneously, the event organizer has also demanded that the charity must pay the winners of the 2011 event since it had received the prize pool. Stating that he had never intended to use the name Montreal Open for his new charity poker tournament, he said that it was used owing to an injunction granted when he was abroad.
The issue now has boiled down to whether Miriam Foundation is ethically and legally responsible to pay Montreal Open winners after the fall of FTP.
Meanwhile, Montreal Open winners received no communication from Miriam Foundation, forcing them to question Cookie; but by that time, Miriam Foundation and Cookie were already fighting a legal battle.
On Jan 19, Cookie filed a motion stating that FTP had entrusted the charity with the entire prize pool and can no longer pay winners out of it. He also accused Miriam Foundation of keeping the entire prize pool of $250k, which it is supposed to pay to the winners of the Montreal Open.
Miriam Foundation claims that it had emailed FTP about paying the winners of the 2011 Montreal Open as FTP had paid winners from 2005 – 2010 and that FTP had responded that it had credited the prize money into the winners’ FTP accounts. The charity maintains that it later realized that funds in FTP accounts are no longer accessible to players.