Celebuzz editor-in-chief Dylan Howard has been keeping tabs on the Hollywood high-stakes poker circuit story from day one. In late June 2011, he was the first reporter to detail A-list aspects of the ring via a Star magazine cover story (pictured). This morning, he’s got an exclusive and explosive rundown of a 206-page deposition given this spring by Brad Ruderman, the convicted hedge fund Ponzi scheme operator who was a regular player (and loser) alongside the likes of Tobey Maguire, Ben Affleck and Leonardo DiCaprio.
“When all the celebrities in this secret street circuit settled their suits, I didn’t think we’d ever hear from Ruderman – in his own words,” Howard tells FishbowlLA. “With that, I think it would be fair to say a slew of famous names breathed a sigh of relief: they did not have to appear in court, the inner-workings of the ring were therefore saved a public hearing. That is why obtaining Ruderman’s deposition, made before the [May 2012] settlement, was so important in shining a light on this story.”
Howard’s article opens with an explanation of just how instrumental Maguire was in securing Ruderman’s attendance at the bi-weekly matches beginning in 2006. From there, his latest piece about the $50,000 buy-in, no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em games takes on the sheen of a Vanity Fair-like expose:
Some Hollywood heavy hitters were invited, but rebuffed the group – like Jeffery Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation and the former chairman of The Walt Disney Studios. “There were people that didn’t want to play in this game because they were concerned about that [the commissioned organization of the home games by Molly Bloom].” He was instructed to name names, under oath. “I’d rather not say, but they’re very, very prominent people,” said Ruderman.“I’m going to request that you answer the question,” a lawyer said. He finally relented. “Was this person’s name brought up at the table?” a lawyer asked.“Did I bring it up? ” he responded. “No. But was Jeffery Katzenberg’s name brought up? Yes.”