One of the two lawsuits filed against professional golfer Tony Finau and his family seeking repayment of a $500,000 loan and a 20% share of the PGA Tour star’s earnings and revenues — which could be in the millions — was dismissed by a Utah appellate court late last week.

“We are really disappointed over this latest ruling, but we are pressing forward. We thought we were helping this kid out, and we have a contract, and they acknowledge we have a contract, and they acknowledge we gave them money. But they legally weaseled their way out of it over a statute of limitations claim. That is totally shameful and disappointing.” — Utah County investor David Hunter

However, plaintiff David Hunter, the Utah County businessman and part-time filmmaker who filed the complaint in 2021 alleging breach of contract of a two-part written agreement he and his business associates made with the Finau family in 2007, said Tuesday he is “not giving up” and will take the case to the Utah Supreme Court.

Another pending lawsuit against the Finau family, filed by former Salt Lake City mayoral candidate and University of Utah football player Molonai Hola, is separate from Hunter’s case, and is scheduled to go to a jury trial in October, the Deseret News reported last month.

In the Hunter complaint, two judicial bodies — 4th District Court Judge James Taylor and the three-member Utah Court of Appeals — have now ruled that the six-year statute of limitations on Hunter’s claim has run out.

“We are really disappointed over this latest ruling, but we are pressing forward,” Hunter, 53, told the Deseret News. “We thought we were helping this kid out, and we have a contract, and they acknowledge we have a contract, and they acknowledge we gave them money. But they legally weaseled their way out of it over a statute of limitations claim. That is totally shameful and disappointing.”

Finau’s manager, Chris Armstrong of the Wasserman Media Group, said the golfer’s agency “will reserve comment at this time” over the appellate court’s dismissal. The agency has declined to make any of the Finaus available to the Deseret News since Hola’s complaint was filed in September 2020.

Provo-based Judge Taylor dismissed Hunter’s entire complaint on Nov. 18, 2021, but Hunter’s attorneys — Michael J. Petro and Leah Aston — appealed to the Utah Court of Appeals. Appellate judges Ryan D. Tenney, Ryan M. Harris and Gregory K. Orme heard oral arguments on it last August.

Friday, they ruled in Finau’s favor, affirming Taylor’s dismissal. Tenney authored the opinion.

“Based on the allegations as pleaded in his own complaint, the statute of limitations for each of Hunter’s claims began to run in 2009, and we see no basis for concluding that those statutes were tolled,” Tenney wrote. “Since Hunter did not file his suit until 2021, the district court correctly dismissed each of the claims.”

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In a 17-page ruling, the appellate judges say the statute of limitations had begun running when the family’s Finau Corporation — set up in 2007 by the family and investors — was dissolved by a 3-2 vote in 2009. Tony, Gipper and their father, Kelepi “Gary” Finau, voted to collapse the LLC, while Hola and another investor, SOLE Fitness co-founder Steve Gasser, voted to keep it afloat.

Gasser died in October 2010, at the age of 46, of sudden cardiac arrest while biking in the 100-mile Tour de St. George race in southern Utah. Hunter and Gasser were close friends, and after Gasser died, Hunter purchased the Finau contract from Gasser’s estate, along with former Vivint owner Todd Pedersen, in 2011.

Hunter, who is most known in Utah for co-founding Halestorm Entertainment, says the reason he did not contact Tony Finau for repayment until 2015 was the Salt Lake City native had not realized substantial earnings from professional golf until August 2014, when he won the Stonebrae Classic on the Web.com Tour (now the Korn Ferry Tour).

“There was no breach of contract because there was nothing (substantial) to go after until then,” Hunter said.

The win propelled Finau to the PGA Tour, where he has been extremely successful and now has career earnings of more than $51 million, according to Spotrac.com. That number does not include the millions that Finau has made from endorsements, sponsorships, appearances and the like, Hunter’s initial complaint alleges.

Finau earned $251,400 by tying for 19th place at The Genesis Invitational in Los Angeles last week. He has reportedly turned down an offer from the Saudi-backed LIV Golf to join that tour for upwards of $150 million.

Hunter said the entire ordeal is a “sucker-punch that I can’t get over. It turned out to be a terrible deal all the way around.” But he’s determined to keep it going.

Professional golfer Tony Finau smiles as he and other golfers demonstrate golf strokes during the Tony Finau Foundation Golf Classic in Farmington on Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. A Utah appellate court recently tossed out one of two lawsuits filed against Finau. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News