Ahmed Zayat, owner of Triple Crown hopeful American Pharaoah, has prevailed in his federal court fight over an alleged $1.65m online gambling debt.
On Thursday, US District Judge William Martini dismissed the suit brought by Howard Rubinsky, a Florida resident with a conviction for illegal gambling in Nevada. Rubsinky claimed he’d entered into a personal services contract with known gambling whale Zayat (pictured) to facilitate gambling with internationally licensed online sports betting sites, including Costa Rica-based Tradewinds.
In dismissing the case, Judge Martini agreed with Zayat’s attorneys that Rubsinsky’s claim was filed too late and therefore fell outside New Jersey’s six-year statute of limitations. Rubinsky filed his case in March 2014 but the debt was allegedly incurred in 2003 and Rubinsky first hired a lawyer in 2005.
Rubinsky had attempted to claim that text messages exchanged with Zayat in 2008 regarding the debt marked the real start of the debt obligation, but Martini said Rubinsky hadn’t presented “any evidence that would toll or restart the statute of limitations” and that there were no obvious circumstances that had prevented Rubinsky from making “a more timely complaint.”
Zayat celebrated the ruling, telling the Associated Press that “justice always prevails … Could not have happened at a better time.” Zayat’s American Pharoah is prepping for this weekend’s Belmont Stakes which, if the nag finishes first, would make Zayat the first Triple Crown-winning owner since 1978.
Rubinsky’s attorney Joseph Bainton says his client is assessing his options for appeal. Earlier this week, Bainton filed his own $10m lawsuit against Zayat, claiming that derisive comments Zayat made regarding the legitimacy of the Rubinsky lawsuit had libeled the attorney.