Phil Ivey’s Divorce Spurs Supreme Court Arguments based on Political Cash Contributions

Luciaetta Ivey, poker pro Phil Ivey’s ex-wife is now in court after filing a lawsuit which alleges that decision made by a Family Court judge in her divorce case was tainted since Phil paid a $5,000 donation to the judge’s campaign. This case has now caused the Nevada Supreme Court to consider if judges should preside over cases which involves anyone who has contributed to their campaign.

Chief Justice Michael Cherry commented that any decisions on the subject would most likely affect the next campaigns for the Nevada district court judges in 2014. For many years there have been allegations that Nevada judges favor law firms and people who have donated to their campaigns. In the state, individuals have the opportunity to donate up to $10,000 to a candidate for a judicial position.

Back in 2009, Ivey was granted an uncontested divorce by Judge William Gonzalez after begin married for seven years. Then in 2011, Luciaetta Ivey asked the same judge to make Phil to pay his spousal support that he was required. Luciaetta tried to have Gonzalez disqualified in the case after she found out that Phil had contributed $5,000 back in 2010 to the judge’s campaign. It was also found that Ivey’s lawyer had contributed both money and time to Gonzalez’s campaign.

Bruce Shapiro served as Luciaetta’s lawyer and he told the court that he was not stating that Gonzalez had done anything wrong but Shapiro did state that he contributions made by Phil and his lawyer did create an appearance of impropriety. David Chesnoff served as Phil Ivey’s lawyer and he stated that Luciaetta has no case. Chesnoff pointed out that the contribution to Gonzalez’s campaign took place after the couple was divorced and the divorce was uncontested.

Chesnoff went on to state further that Ivey did stop making payments to Luciaetta back in 2011 after Full Tilt Poker stopped making payments to his account. This was after the Justice Department and Ivey has now filed a lawsuit against Full Tilt. Chesnoff commented: “Mrs. Ivey made millions (from the divorce settlement). Tilt was stopped, alimony stopped. Are we going to tell people they cannot contribute? We exist in a state where judges are elected.”

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