A waiter who alleges he’s owed $8.6 million for helping to set up Manny Pacquiao’s fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. is himself the target of a lawsuit by a Beverly Hills businessman who says he deserves half of any money the plaintiff may get if he wins his case. Richard “Richie” Palmer filed his complaint Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, accusing Gabriel Rueda of breach of oral contract, false promise and unjust enrichment.
Palmer, who founded the Mulberry Street Pizzeria chain and was once married to actress Raquel Welch, also wants a court to find that he is entitled to 50 percent of what Rueda may obtain through any judgment in the server’s own case, including an equal split of $10,000 he says Rueda already received.
The filing of Palmer’s complaint comes on the heels of a Sept. 26 ruling by Judge David Sotelo that Palmer could not “intervene” and file his lawsuit as part of Rueda’s ongoing case against Pacquiao, the fighter’s trainer, Freddie Roach, and others.
Palmer maintains that Rueda called him in May 2014 and promised he would give him a split of his finder’s fee if Palmer could convince Roach to meet with CBS President Leslie Moonves regarding a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight. Palmer says he arranged a get-together between Roach and Moonves later that month at the Montage hotel in Beverly Hills. Palmer notes that Rueda then filed his lawsuit against Pacquiao, Roach and others on Feb. 24, seeking a finder’s fee.
“Rueda has failed to mention my name whatsoever in his complaint or detail the agreement entered into by the two of us,” Palmer says in a sworn statement attached to his court papers. “I am now claiming 50 percent of any monies or other compensation Rueda receives as part of his lawsuit.”
Attorney Amman Khan, on behalf of Rueda, previously said that Palmer is a “known associate” of Roach and that Palmer’s claims only serve to confirm Rueda’s “pivotal role in kickstarting the negotiations for the ‘Fight of the Century’ between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Having said that, Mr. Palmer’s newly minted claims to a portion of Mr. Rueda’s well deserved finder’s fee are without merit.”
Rueda’s lawsuit alleges extortion, intentional infliction of emotional distress, breach of an oral contract, fraud and unjust enrichment. In addition to Pacquiao and Roach, Rueda’ complaint names CBS, Showtime Entertainment and Keith Davidson, described in the plaintiff’s court papers as a lawyer for “Roach, Pacquiao and a few other powerful people.”
Rueda’s suit states he served Moonves while working at Craig’s restaurant in West Hollywood and told Moonves he could introduce him to Roach in order to break the ice between Al Haymon and Bob Arum, the promoters for Mayweather and Pacquiao, respectively.
The lawsuit states that Rueda arranged a meeting between Roach and Moonves, with an agreement that he would get a 2 percent finder’s fee of gross fight proceeds paid to CBS, Showtime Network, Pacquiao and Roach. But according to Palmer’s court papers, Roach refused to take Rueda’s calls about the Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, but Rueda knew that Palmer was a close friend of Roach. Rueda asked Palmer to intervene and talk to Roach, saying “we can make a lot of money,” according to Palmer’s court papers.
Roach later agreed to talk with Moonves as a favor to Palmer, according to Palmer’s court papers. After the meeting was established, Palmer called Rueda to tell him and to reaffirm their verbal agreement that they would equally split any finder’s fees Rueda received for getting Roach and Moonves together, according to Palmer’s court papers.
Showtime gave Rueda a ticket to the fight, a night’s stay in Las Vegas and a $10,000 check to cover the rest of his hotel and travel expenses, according to Palmer’s court papers. Pacquiao lost to Mayweather by unanimous decision when the two fought on May 2, 2015.