August 6, 2015
By Thomas Zambito
Owner Ahmed Zayat waits for American Pharoah to arrive at Belmont Park in his quest to win the Triple Crown of horse racing. 6/2/15 Elmont, NY (John Munson | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com)
NEWARK – His horse, American Pharoah, became the first thoroughbred in 37 years to win the Triple Crown when he took The Belmont Stakes in June. On Sunday, Ahmed Zayat watched as American Pharoah sprinted to victory in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park.
And in June, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit accusing Zayat of reneging on a $1.65 million gambling debt.
Zayat’s hot streak continued Wednesday when New York City lawyer Joseph Bainton agreed to dismiss the libel lawsuit he filed against Zayat days before the Belmont.
Bainton’s decision to drop the lawsuit came weeks after Zayat’s lawyers asked a judge to toss the lawsuit out of court.
Both sides will have to pick up their own legal costs but there was no monetary settlement, according to Zayat’s attorney, Stephen Wagner.
“No money changed hands,” Wagner said. “Mr. Bainton voluntarily dismissed the action with prejudice.”
That means the lawsuit cannot be refiled.
“No comment,” Bainton said in an email to NJ Advance Media.
Bainton represents Howard Rubinsky, a onetime X-ray technician and convicted felon, who sued Zayat in 2014, claiming Zayat failed to pay back the $1.65 million he owed him for advancing Zayat a line of credit at an offshore casino.
Judge William Martini dismissed Rubinsky’s lawsuit on June 4, two days before American Pharoah won the Belmont and captured the Triple Crown.
Bainton’s lawsuit said statements Zayat made to other media outlets after NJ Advance Media first reported Rubinsky’s lawsuit were malicious.
Zayat told the New York Daily News that Rubinsky’s lawsuit was “a fictitious story from people who are trying to extort me,” according to court papers.
Bainton said that comment and others maligned his 40-year legal career.
But Zayat’s lawyers, in court papers filed last month, said the comments were aimed at Rubinsky, not Bainton.
“Rubinsky is the person who claimed that Zayat owed him $1.65 million from a gambling debt that was incurred in 2003 – not Bainton,” Zayat’s lawyers wrote. “Rubinsky is the convicted criminal — not Bainton.”