Reposting in full here since original thread is closed
It is astonishing to think that anyone would give Howard credit for securing a deal to repay the players.
I don't know for sure who knew what and when, but either Howard knew about the shortfall and allowed the company to drop below full coverage of all player funds, or, as a member of the board of directors, he had a fiduciary duty to know. In either case, he is largely responsible for FTP being in the situation of needing to be bailed out in the first place.
But regardless of what happened prior to Black Friday, we know that after Black Friday
- He kept Ray Bitar, who was under indictment, in charge of the company and continued to pay him millions of dollars in compensation at a time when the company was desperate for cash.
- He did not bring in outside help to find potential investors and to negotiate with potential investors. There are companies that exist that handle exactly these types of crises.
It is virtually unheard of for an indicted CEO to remain in charge of a company. The fact is, having an indicted CEO at the helm scared away potential investors.
To the extent that Howard had any role in negotiating the sale of the company, this is a negative, not a positive. Had the board brought in outside help back in April of 2011, perhaps the company could have been saved. If an investor could have been brought in right away, US players could have been paid and overseas operations could have continued uninterrupted. Instead, a group of people with very limited connections and no M&A experience (and a tremendous conflict of interest) decided to conduct an investor search on their own and negotiate potential deals themselves.
Clearly, the board of directors was not best qualified to save the company. So, you have to ask yourself what would motivate the board to keep such close control over all negotiations, and why they would not have gone with the most logical and effective way to save the company. Even if they foolishly believed that they were best qualified or there wasn’t time to bring in outside help, if things were above board, they could have at least brought in outside help as a backup plan should their own efforts not be fruitful quickly enough. Instead, they had no backup plan. It would seem like the board of directors was more concerned with saving their own asses than with saving the company and getting the players paid.
Because of their lack of expertise, and because they chose to try to save the company themselves, and because they left an indicted CEO at the helm, they limited their possible suitors, wasted months giving exclusivity to the mysterious “white knight”, then many more months with GBT.
It was rumored that Poker Stars had expressed interest in Full Tilt more than a year ago, and the board completely ignored them. And who knows how many other potential suitors were scared away by having Ray Bitar at the helm, or how many others were never even considered.
As for the current deal with Stars, if anyone deserves credit for negotiating this deal, it is the DOJ. The negotiations have largely been out of the board members hands for some time now, as they should have been from the beginning. If Howard provided any assistance at all, it would seem to be more out of self-preservation rather than any altruistic motives.
Anyone who wants to support Howard or give him credit for the deal has to answer why Howard was even involved in trying to save the company and why he did not bring in qualified experts to save the company in the first place. And they also need to answer why Howard left Ray Bitar in charge and continued to pay him millions of dollars after Black Friday when US players weren’t able to see a dime of their money. And they also answer whether Howard knew about the shortfall or was simply grossly negligent. I’d love to see Doyle or any of Howard’s supporters answer these questions.
The idea that Howard might actually climb out from under his rock after all this time and try to portray himself as a hero is abhorrent, and anyone who comes to his defense is deserving of the same sort of scorn that should be directed his way. Any of his buddies that think they need to defend him out of some blind loyalty need to think long and hard about the questions above and decide for themselves if they want to be associated with making a hero out of such a person. When the truth comes out in the months and years to come, there will be a reckoning and Howard is not going to coming off smelling very good, and anyone who throws their support behind him now will be tainted with that stench. We may never know the whole
truth, but even what we already know about what has transpired after Black Friday, the stench is pretty bad.