Florida’s Maurice Hawkins, the WSOP Circuit tour’s all-time leader in wins with 14 ring-event victories, will continue to be pursued by a backer who claims that Hawkins still owes him over $100,000 from a prior financial arrangement that has yet to be repaid.
Randy Garcia, who first began backing Hawkins’ play in February of 2017, contacted PokerNews recently with claims that Hawkins had not fulfilled the terms of a court-ruled payback agreement between the two that was reached in July of 2019. Garcia initially sued Hawkins in January of 2018, and he ultimately received a $115,828 judgment in a Florida court. Garcia now plans to pursue legal collection means to pursue the continuing debt
Though the two men reached a payment arrangement, Garcia now claims that Hawkins made only minimal payments against the judgment over the nearly three years since. As reported by PN, Garcia claims Hawkins has paid about $10,000 against the existing debt, while Hawkins claims to have paid more than twice that much. Nonetheless, by either man’s tally, roughly $100,000 remains unpaid.
Ongoing payment negotiations foundered
Documents Garcia provided to PN indicate that both men have sought adjustments to the scheduled payments, including, in Hawkins’ case, noting that the 2020-21 downtime for COVID-related closures impacted the live events that Hawkins commonly plays. Hawkins cashed for almost $550,000 in live events in 2019, though he seemingly sent little of that Garcia’s way. In 2020, with COVID shutdowns commonplace, Hawkins recorded only about $66,600 in known cashes.
After a nice cash in September 2019, Hawkins was due to send more than $12,000 to Garcia, in addition to the $2000/month base as agreed to as part of the July court settlement. However, in response to a payment dun sent by Garcia’s lawyer, Joel B. Blumberg, Hawkins claimed he was unable to pay as scheduled. A return email from Blumberg described Garcia as “apopleptic”, and included the line, ” I can only assume that other creditors have threatened your life if you don’t pay them first.”
Despite attempting to create an alternate payment schedule or, at other times, offering a reduced lump-sum settlement to end the matter, Hawkins did not agree to the later offers.
Hawkins attacks PokerNews for covering the story
Despite the newsworthiness of the WSOP Circuit’s all-time ringwinner being involved in a years-long legal battle over a backing deal gone wrong, Hawkins blasted PokerNews when they reached out for comment regarding Garcia’s latest allegations, just for covering the story.
“I paid him as I won and even when I really couldn’t afford it,” Hawkins told PokerNews. “The fact that you writing articles and not really caring what it does to my lifestyle as a whole is truly sad. Trying to make it as a poker player and have a family is hard enough. So my comment is I am greater than anything you could possibly write to destroy me.”
Hawkins continued, “Maurice pays his ass when he can. Write the article about a businessman that owns million-dollar restaurants that is trying to end a poker player’s staking abilities and future… At the end of the day he gets to go back home to his stable income while [you try] to end my career.”
Featured image source: Haley Hintze