BUSINESS & TECHNOLOGY

Tony Finau sued by Icon Sports owner Molonai Hola for over $16 million

Icon Sports owner Molonai Hola, 55, is suing Milton Pouha “Tony” Finau, 31, for more than $16 million. The plaintiff is a former business associate of the Tongan-Samoan professional golfer.

Hola filed the lawsuit in the Third District Court in Salt Lake City, Utah, United States days after the 2020 United States Open Championship, which took place at the Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York, USA from September 17–20, 2020. Finau finished T6 in the 120th U.S. Open.

For several years, Hola paid Finau and his family’s expenses with the agreement of being paid back. However, no compensation was ever given, the Icon Sports owner claimed.

According to the lawsuit, Hola started financing expenses for Tony and his younger brother Gipper Finau, 30, in 1997. Gipper was also named in the lawsuit along with their father Kelepi “Gary” Finau, the Wasserman Media Group and Tony’s agent Christopher Armstrong.

“We are aware of the matter and have the utmost faith in the legal process,” Armstrong told Deseret News. “We will not be making further comment at this time.”

 

Tony and Gipper have four other siblings. Their father is Samoan while their late mother Ravena Mele Finau is Tongan.

Both Tony and Gipper have been playing golf professionally since 2007. In 2006, Tony won the Utah State Amateur while Gipper became the second youngest golfer to ever make a cut at a PGA Tour event after playing in a Nationwide Tour event in Utah.

In 2009, Tony and Gipper competed on “The Big Break” on the Golf Channel. The former finished second.

While Tony and Gipper received lessons from golf instructor David Leadbetter in Florida, USA, the living expenses for their family to live there for almost a year were paid by Hola, the Icon Sports owner claimed. Hola claimed that over several years, he paid for the siblings’ golf-related travel expenses, their family’s mortgage payments, medical insurance and a new car, which added up to $592,371.37.

In Hola’s lawsuit, he asks for $592,371.37 plus interest and for compensatory damages of at least $16 million plus interest. According to him, Tony and Gipper promised to give him 20 percent of their future professional earnings.

Neither Tony nor Gipper has released a statement about the lawsuit. Their father has not commented either.

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