Dan Bilzerian is best known for being a professional poker player and living a lavish lifestyle that he posts on his social media accounts. In fact, it’s called Instagram Playboy. At 39, Bilzerian has created a personal brand full of all the things (and people) he finds aesthetically pleasing. Basically, visiting Bilzerian’s social media is like visiting a foreign planet where swarthy men party with young models in bikini on mega yachts and in sumptuous mansions with intricate style pools. Now a new trial alleges that Bilzerian does not have his own house. In fact, he’s a tenant – and while there is nothing wrong with that (most people who live in Los Angeles are renters by the way), it doesn’t exactly match the carefully organized picture that he built for himself over the past ten years.
The lawsuit was filed by former president of Bilzerian Ignite International, Ltd.’s CBD, Curtis Heffernan. The lawsuit alleges that Bilzerian financed his lifestyle with company funds and fired Heffernan for refusing to approve his expense report. Among the things Bilzerian wanted his business to pay for was a $ 15,000 ping-pong table, a $ 40,000 climbing wall and a photo shoot in the Bahamas that cost $ 130,340. Heffernan also alleged that Bilzerian wanted him to wrongly classify a loan from the government’s paycheck protection program as “miscellaneous income”. For what it’s worth, Ignite isn’t the top performer. The company lost $ 50 million in 2019 and analysts predict that Ignite will cease operations in the near future.
Heffernan seems to disagree with the fact that Bilzerian was frequently surrounded by “a harem of models”. It was these models, in fact, that led an auditor to report Bilzerian’s expenses in the first place. Nearly a million dollars in Ignite money was spent on what listeners called “suspicious spending,” including a $ 18,000 bar at a Valentine’s Day party. Heffernan refused to call these professional expenses and was dismissed by Bilzerian accordingly.
But wait! There is more. It wasn’t just the million dollars in model travel or the $ 18,000 bar tab or the $ 15,000 table tennis table, Bilzerian expected his company to pay its rent of $ 200,000 a month – or $ 2.4 million a year for her rental home in Hollywood Hills. The lawsuit alleges that he bills Ignite for his rent and his six-figure lifestyle on a credit card he does not pay. Someone else is paying the credit card bills of Bilzerian, 39, according to the lawsuit. Paying for everything Bilzerian does is a good way for a company to lose $ 50 million in a year, like Ignite did.
It’s not just Heffernan with an ax to grind when it comes to how Bilzerian expected Ignite to finance his lifestyle. A number of former Ignite employees have confirmed what Heffernan alleges in its lawsuit. These former employees said Ignite pays for everything – models, yachts, private jets, all of that. Sources say Bilzerian slaps an Ignite logo on something and calls it a business expense.
The Heffernan trial seeks damages for wrongful dismissal, defamation and dismissal in violation of state whistleblower protection laws. The former executive of Procter and Gamble joined Ignite in March 2019. He became acting president in November 2019. The problems started in May 2020 when accountants reported Bilzerian’s expenses when writing the books for the report annual report. Trial reports that accountants found $ 843,014.06 of expenses charged to Ignite that appeared to be of a personal nature, including a yacht rental for $ 500,000, a two-night trip to London that cost more than $ 100,000 $, a bed frame that cost $ 50,000 and a safe for $ 88,000, to name a few of the outrageous charges. The suit also claims that Ignite paid for the traveling expenses of the rotating group of models that accompany Bilzerian wherever he goes. The lawsuit also alleges that Ignite paid $ 26,000 to get Bilzerian more followers on Instagram. Heffernan was allegedly pressured by other Ignite executives to approve everything Bilzerian charges as actual business expenses.
The lawsuit reports that Heffernan attempted to convince Bilzerian to leave the mansion for $ 200,000 a month using logic that the coronavirus pandemic essentially banned parties, so the mansion was no longer needed for marketing events. Heffernan claims that Bilzerian spoke of his power as chairman of the Ignite board and told him that he was going to host pool parties all summer and that he needed the house.
Bilzerian fired Heffernan on June 8, 2020. This case is ongoing.