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Phil Galfond Sues BlueFire Poker: Site Fires Back

The decision by BlueFire Poker to end their relationship with the face of the company, Phil “OMGClayAiken” Galfond in December of 2011 appeared to be a fairly amicable split, with a little bit of going-away drama, but after the revelations made this past week, the breakup seems to have been anything but pleasant. This week we learned that Phil Galfond had filed a civil lawsuit against BlueFire Poker and owner Billy Murphy, claiming he hadn’t been paid for his work in 2011, and alleging that he never was privy to the financial statements of the company.

Galfond, who was the face of the site since its inception in 2008, was paid $238,977 for his work in 2010, and another six-figure amount for his work in 2009. According to Galfond’s civil complaint he was never given financial record for the site which he owned 1/3 of, and feels that owner William Murphy may have shorted him: “Blue Fire has been immensely successful, having thousands of members who pay an initial enrollment fee of $100 in addition to a subscription fee of $30 per month. Upon information and belief, the defendant Murphy has misappropriated and converted to his own use and possession the assets of MGH.”

Murphy fired back at Galfond and his claims, laying out his side of the story in a lengthy blog post at BlueFire Poker, where he called Galfond difficult to work with, and someone who had not lived up to his obligations with the site. Here are just some of the details Murphy made public:

Shortly before the site was finally going to launch after a long development period, Phil said he wanted an additional equity to be able to recruit additional pros… If I said “no”, I risked Phil leaving right before the launch of the site.

As the years went on, he slowly got less and less interested in the site and the company… It became tougher and tougher to get videos, blog posts, interviews and any participation in the forum. As the face of the company, this wasn’t good. When I brought it up, he always promised he’d “catch up” on stuff, but never did.

Towards the end of Phil’s time with BlueFire, it was a hassle to get him to turn in content. Constant reminders and questions as to when he’d have things done were required, and regardless he blew off his obligations. People wanted more participation from him, but he wouldn’t do it. He would reject requests to do simple interviews that would help the business around promotions we wanted to run. He didn’t participate in the forums, or help promote the site through his blog. It was like pulling teeth.

I requested to meet with him in person several times to try and figure out why he wasn’t doing his work, or what was going on… But Phil wouldn’t even meet with me.”

Murphy also went on to detail the tumultuous period of Phil Galfond’s departure which included deleted posts and banned access. According to Murphy the final day of Phil Galfond at Bluefire Poker went something like this:

“… in December 2011, out of nowhere Phil makes an announcement on BlueFirePoker that he was stepping down… He didn’t tell ANYONE about this beforehand.

But it got even worse than that. We decided it was best to move the blog post to the forums, so we could respond/chat with customers so that any responses were in the same place, and not buried in the comments section.

Then, it really hit the fan. Phil deleted his post, and said that we had moved it and he was trying to get it back to his blog section. Because he had deleted it, people assumed BlueFirePoker had deleted it. No one from BlueFirePoker deleted it.

Phil then publicly posted on twitter, and then poker forums, saying he was locked out of his BlueFirePoker account now, and said that any posts from that account from then on weren’t from him, insinuating that we were going to pretend to be him or something. He was locked out because his actions were making it look like we were deleting his content but it was actually Phil who was deleting it.”

You can read the full message from Billy Murphy Here: http://www.bluefirepoker.com/forums/bluefire-poker-announcements/show/54664#post54664

You can read the civil suit filed by Phil Galfond here: http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/09/20/50464.htm

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