Ever since Full Tilt Poker failed to ring-fence player deposits and customers couldn’t withdraw their money, there’s been a lack of accountability among the site’s previous owners. Howard Lederer was the most-visible of the four owners, doing a multi-part interview series called the “Lederer Files.”
During the Lederer Files, Howard never fully came out and apologized for any of the harm that he caused his customers. Instead, he spent most of the interviews deflecting blame and trying to make up excuses for why Full Tilt was unable to pay players back following Black Friday.
Well, it may be 5 years late, but Lederer has finally owned up to his mistakes as one of the owners of Full Tilt. This, of course, won’t reverse time and hasten the years that players had to wait on their money. But it’s nice that he fessed up to what he’s done wrong.
Interestingly enough, Daniel Negreanu, one of Lederer’s most-vocal critics, posted the apology on his Full Contact Poker website. Here’s one excerpt from the apology:
“I am writing to apologize to everyone in the poker community, especially to all the players who had money on Full Tilt Poker on April 15, 2011. When Full Tilt Poker closed in 2011, there was a shortfall in funds, a distressed sale to recover those funds, and a long delay in repaying players. Throughout this period, there was little explanation for the delay, and no apology. Players felt lied to. They trusted the site, and they trusted me, and I didn’t live up to that trust.
“I take full responsibility for Full Tilt’s failure to protect player deposits leading up to Black Friday. The shortfall in player deposits should never have happened. I should have provided better oversight or made sure that responsible others provided that oversight. I was a founder in the company that launched Full Tilt, and I became the face of the company’s management in the poker community. Many of our players played on the site because they trusted me.”
Lederer spends the rest of the apology discussing how, even though he was no longer in charge of Full Tilt’s day-to-day operations, he bears some blame for not being more involved in the process.
As for Negreanu, he stresses how this was the apology that people needed 5 years ago. He continues to say, however, that he won’t bear a grudge against Lederer any longer. Negreanu also writes that Lederer playing poker again doesn’t bother him, but he can’t speak for every other player.