TwoPlusTwo.com interviewed Howard Lederer on September 8 for around seven hours and later published the interview in the form of seven 30-minute sections. Recently, Lederer spoke to TwoPlusTwo.com over the phone for around 3 hours.
Lederer’s remarks illustrate an online poker company that was neither properly managed nor led. The company had a cheating CFO, an incompetent CEO, an absent board of directors, and a chief payment processor who violated US gaming laws. He also gave reasons why he retained CFO Gil Coronado and CEO Ray Bitar after the events of Black Friday.
Stating that Gil was anyway going to be chucked out of the company, he said that Gil had to be retained because he knew too much and had valuable information that the company needed during that critical period of time between the federal government crackdown and the finding of a new buyer for it. The easiest thing to do would have been to fire everybody, but then the company “wouldn’t have had any institutional knowledge of how to keep this thing together and in one piece” while trying to find someone willing to purchase it.
He said, “Firing them on the spot, or having the board fire them on the spot, you’re right, that would make us look good. I also think it would’ve been the wrong decision for our customers. Because I don’t know that the company could have survived it. But we were so thin at the top…I just don’t know how we could have gotten through what we got through without them.”
Stating that the intention was to save the company and not to protect Bitar and Coronado, he said that retaining the two was, under the circumstances, the right decision.
Meanwhile, PokerStars got into a settlement deal with the DoJ, according to the terms of which it acquired the Full Tilt Poker brand and assets for $731 million. The online poker room also agreed to refund Full Tilt Poker’s international players before Nov 6.
PokerStars has also announced that it will re-launch Full Tilt Poker for the European market in early November. Full Tilt Poker’s old players in many countries can simply log into their accounts and continue playing as usual, but players in some countries will not be able to do so. PokerStars is discussing things over with the regulatory bodies in these countries to identify the best way to refund players in these countries.