ADVERTISEMENT

LIV Golf alleges that Condoleezza Rice sought to block the Department of Justice’s investigation into the PGA

ADVERTISEMENT

(Bloomberg) — Saudi Arabia-backed LIV Golf said in a lawsuit that former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice may have tried to influence the Justice Department not to investigate PGA Tour Inc. In possible antitrust violations as the clash between the two rivals intensified. Until last year.

ADVERTISEMENT

Most Read from Bloomberg

LIV made the claim in Monday’s antitrust suit against the PGA, in which it accused the dominant U.S. golf circuit of illegally trying to block new competition. The PGA did this, LIV claims, in part by trying to use Rice, a member of the Augusta National Golf Club, to influence the Justice Department. Leaf said another member was “apparently” asked to lobby Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas.

LIV has subpoenaed six PGA independent directors and former PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem for their connections with Rice and other Augusta National members who allegedly participated in “anti-LIV” efforts, according to a filing in federal court in San Jose, California. The specific actions that Rice and others were alleged to have taken have been redacted.

“The glimpses LIV has seen of Augusta members being involved in the tour’s alleged illegal conduct reveal why the tour and its managers seek to hide these communications from discovery,” LIV said in the filing.

PGA attorney Elliott Peters has slammed LIV’s claim about Rice, who along with South Carolina financier Darla Moore in 2012 became the first women to join the Augusta National — home of the Masters tournament.

“Attempting to pretend it has the slightest connection with this lawsuit is absurd and harassing,” Peters said in a statement.

The lobbying allegation comes as the PGA and the LIV dispute the records each side is seeking ahead of the January 2024 trial date. The PGA has been arguing with Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund over what information the round wants from the fund and its portfolios, with a wait. Rule this fight soon.

Neither Rice nor Cotton immediately responded to messages seeking comment. The Justice Department did not respond to a message seeking comment.

LIV claims that the PGA has selected Augusta National members as part of an “us or them” campaign “at all levels of the golf ecosystem,” according to a report Monday. LIV said the PGA managers’ contacts with these power brokers “go to the crux” of the case.

The Justice Department opened an investigation into the PGA last year, sending inquiries to golfers’ agents about the tour’s bylaws regarding participation in other golf events, and its procedures relating to LIV Golf, the Wall Street Journal reported at the time.

LIV also went to court in Washington to enforce a different subpoena it issued to the PGA’s public relations firm, which also represents a group of families of 9/11 victims who oppose LIV’s tournaments.

Read more: Saudi-backed PGA Countersues LIV in Golf Antitrust Battle

The case is Jones v. PGA Tour Inc. , 5: 22-cv-04486, US District Court, Northern District of California (San Jose).

(Detailed updates on the dispute over documents from the Saudi Investment Fund in the ninth paragraph).

Most Read by Bloomberg Businessweek

© 2023 Bloomberg LP

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
%d bloggers like this: