Alleged poker cheat Mike Postle’s failed attempt to win a $330 million defamation lawsuit against a dozen prominent poker commentators and news outlets continues to go horribly wrong. On Wednesday, defendants Todd Witteles and Veronica Brill jointly filed an involuntary bankruptcy petition targeting Postle.
The filing seeks to place Postle under Chapter 7 bankruptcy as a first step in collecting legal fees he owes Witteles and Brill. Earlier this year, California Superior Court Judge Shama H. Mesiwala agreed that Postle’s defamation claims were frivolous. Judge Mesiwala then ruled that Witteles and Brill were owed about $27,000 each for their legal expenses.
Since those rulings in May and June, however, Postle has ignored all attempts to collect the nearly $55,000 he owes. The bankruptcy filing leads into a probable seize-and-liquidate effort targeting Postle’s identifiable assets. Witteles and Brill jointly filed the petition, as is allowed under U,S, federal law, since if the petition is granted, the court appoints a trustee to identify, seize, and liquidate the assets.
Fight for fees reimbursement goes social
Brill, the original whistleblower in the cheating allegations against Postle, confirmed the petition within hours of its filing:
This writer obtained the filing separately from Witteles’ attorney, Eric Bensasmochan, who offered this comment:
“Mr. Postle owes valid judgments to both Mr. Witteles and Ms. Brill. He has gone on record about a documentary being made about this whole affair and, upon information and belief, has other assets such as sports memorabilia that could be used to satisfy his debts. He continues to evade payment and has made no effort to resolve the outstanding monies owed to my client and to Ms. Brill, even when given the chance to make voluntary arrangements. A chapter 7 trustee will fully investigate if Mr. Postle has been hiding assets and, if found, those assets will be liquidated for the benefit of his creditors.”
Bankruptcy petition latest development in long saga
Brill and 88 other players sued Postle in 2019 over alleged cheating in live-streamed cash games held at Stones Gambling Hall in Sacramento. A California court later dismissed Postle as a defendant on a technicality involving California’s gambling code. The case’s other defendants then settled out of court for a nominal amount.
Within weeks of the original lawsuit’s end, Postle filed his own $330 million defamation case. The action largely targeted deep-pocketed entities such as ESPN and PokerNews. However, his own lawyer soon quit and no other lawyer would take the case, despite the allure of a $330 million payday.
Postle also announced a documentary telling his side of the story. However, that supposed film effort fizzled as Postle’s defamation claims faltered. Postle never even served legal notice of the case upon its 12 named defendants. Such basic legal flaws helped cement the lawsuit as a publicity stunt and gave weight to Witteles’s and Brill’s claims for legal fees.