Boxing Promoter Sues Harrah’s, Valley Forge Casinos

“Joey Eye” claims he's been locked out of the fight game, causing him to go out of business.

Boxing trainer and promoter "Joey Eye." (YouTube)

Boxing trainer and promoter “Joey Eye.” (YouTube)

Boxing promoter Joey Intreiri, better known as “Joey Eye,” has filed a civil lawsuit against Valley Forge Casino Resort, Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino and former business partner David Feldman — the brother of celebrity boxing promoter Damon Feldman. Intreieri claims that David Feldman disparaged his reputation — claiming Intreiri had mob ties — which led to Joey Eye Boxing Promotions going out of business.

Intreiri is requesting $300,000 in compensatory and punitive damages, as well as a permanent injunction preventing the defendants from barring his access to promote shows at the two casinos. The suit was filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

According to Intreiri’s complaint, Joey Eye Boxing Promotions, based in Haddon Heights, N.J., had been promoting boxing shows at Harrah’s before partnering with David Feldman and his Xtreme Fighting Events (XFE) business, which promoted mixed martial arts bouts at Valley Forge Casino and other venues. Intreiri got 30 percent while Feldman took 70 percent, the court docs say. Intreiri claims that XFE had exclusive rights to promote MMA shows at Harrah’s. Feldman put on the boxing shows through King’s Promotions, the compliant says.

After a leadership change at Harrah’s, David Feldman wanted “to assume complete control of the boxing and MMA events at Harrah’s Casino,” the complaint says, and “Mr. Feldman began to tell numerous casino officials lies about Mr. Intrieri so that he could disparage his reputation and get him removed from the casino.” One was that Intrieri was involved with organized crime, the complaint says, something that was also told to the executive director of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission.

Intreiri claims that after March or April of 2013, all checks from Harrah’s were paid to David Feldman for boxing and MMA events, not Intrieri. Feldman allegedly told the Harrah’s executive that Intreiri was extorting him with the backing of organized crime.

“After this began to happen, it was nearly impossible for Mr. Intirieri to get Harrah’s Casino officials to answer or return his calls,” the complaint says. “Mr. Feldman eventually had Joey Eye Boxing completely banned from Harrah’s Casino.” He also allegedly banned Intirieri from boxing shows at Valley Forge.

The local boxing world is not the easiest place to make money, and old, popular venues like The Spectrum and the Legendary Blue Horizon are long gone. So promoters have been increasingly interested in doing shows at local casinos. Intirieri’s complaint says “casino boxing events have become wildly popular and profitable, so much that the casinos are now the only viable venue to hold boxing promotions and combat sport events in the Philadelphia region.”

Intirieri’s complaint calls it an anti-trust case, since he claims that King’s Promotions has a monopoly on holding boxing shows at the two casinos. Intirieri even accuses that “Mr. Feldman made a payment to Joel Freedman, a former employee of Harrah’s Casino, to secure and maintain King’s Promotions’ exclusive access to the venue.”

“All of the defendants listed herein have agreed in concert with one another to restrict the access of outside boxing promotions into these casino venues for the purpose of substantially lessening or eliminating competition in the market in which they operate,” the complaint goes on to say.

A. Jordan Rushie, an attorney for Intreiri, and Robert J. Bush, an attorney for Feldman, did not return requests for comment.

A Valley Forge Casino Resort spokesperson said: “These claims lodged against Valley Forge Casino Resort are baseless and we intend to vigorously defend our reputation.” A representative for Caesars Entertainment, which owns Harrah’s Philadelphia, did not return a request for comment.