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Tony Finau faces lawsuit from former financial backer, report says

In a $16 million claim, a Utah businessman alleges that the PGA Tour pro reneged on an agreement to repay expenses from early in his career, plus 20 percent of his future earnings

Sued: PGA Tour player Tony Finau, by a former financial backer, for more than $16 million, according to a report by the Deseret News newspaper in Finau’s hometown of Salt Lake City. In a filing with Utah’s 3rd District Court, businessman Molonai Hola claims that he paid the expenses for Finau and his family for several years and was not compensated per their agreement. Finau, his brother, Gipper, father, Gary, agent Christopher Armstrong and Wasserman Media Group were named as defendants in the lawsuit. In response to an inquiry from the Deseret News, Armstrong said, “We are aware of the matter and have the utmost faith in the legal process. We will not be making further comment at this time.” Hola claims that he paid for the Finau family’s mortgage payments, medical insurance, a new car and golf-related travel expenses for Tony and Gipper, including living expenses for the Finau family to reside in Florida for approximately a year while they received lessons from instructor David Leadbetter. Later, Hola helped form Finau Corp. to help promote the young golfers and was designated as the corporation’s registered agent. The expenses, according to the suit, totaled $592,371.37 over several years. The suit asks for that amount, plus interest and for compensatory damages of “at least $16 million, plus interest,” which the suit claims represents approximately 20 percent of the two golfers’ career earnings to date. Hola contends that he was promised 20 percent of the Finaus’ future professional earnings. Tony Finau, 31, who is in his seventh season on the PGA Tour after having turned pro at age 17, has won once and is ranked No. 14 in the world. He has earned more than $20 million in his PGA Tour career. His brother has earned comparatively little as a professional golfer.

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