Twitter star Yashar Ali still owes $230,000 to Getty heir. A debt collector now wants his income

Yashar Ali owes well over $200,000 on loans made to him by Ariadne Getty, according to papers filed in L.A. Superior Court.
Yashar Ali owes well over $200,000 on loans made to him by Ariadne Getty, according to papers filed in L.A. Superior Court.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

The long-standing efforts of a Getty heir to recover thousands of dollars she loaned to journalist and Twitter influencer Yashar Ali have intensified, with a debt collector now seeking to seize his future income and money he gets through online payment platforms like Venmo.

According to papers filed Friday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Ali owes well over $200,000 on loans made to him by Ariadne Getty, a philanthropist and granddaughter of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty. The online journalist’s debt has ballooned after years of nonpayment.

Getty loaned Ali about $180,000 between 2012 and 2014. Ali has not disputed that Getty loaned him the money, nor that he defaulted on the initial loan after paying only $1,000.


After years of receiving few payments, Getty sued him in 2017 for the outstanding money plus interest. In 2019, a judgment was entered against Ali for $166,429. The sum remains “fully unpaid” and, with interest, stands at $232,769, according to a motion filed Friday.

The debt collector is asking L.A. Superior Court for the power to seize funds sent to Ali on various online platforms, including PayPal, Venmo, Zelle, GoFundMe and Square. The debt collector also wants “all rights to future payments” that Ali may get from his newsletter on Substack; income he derives from Twitter, where he has more than 700,000 followers; as well as future payments he may get from freelance journalism he publishes at Huffpost, MSNBC News or New York magazine, according to the filing.

Ali did not respond to a message seeking comment. Jesse Levin, an attorney who defended Ali against Getty’s suit, told The Times he no longer represented the journalist and was unaware if he had another lawyer.

Ali worked in Democratic politics, including for Gov. Gavin Newsom, before rising to prominence on social media. His ascendance to the status of “Twitter power broker” was the subject of a widely read profile in Los Angeles magazine that asserted: “Part investigative journalist, part gossip columnist, and part trusted confidante, Ali is a uniquely twenty-first-century media personality.”

The 2021 article also noted Ali’s “tangled relationships” with celebrities across the Golden State, including the unpaid loans from Getty, and stated that “for a journalist who puts so much of his private life into the public sphere, he is secretive and resistant to scrutiny.”

After the article’s publication, Ali sued the magazine for defamation. Earlier this year, attorneys for Los Angeles magazine convinced a judge to strike two of Ali’s three causes of action in the lawsuit, and the lawyers are now seeking more than $40,000 in legal fees from Ali. The remaining portion of the case is pending.


Although Getty filed the lawsuit and secured the judgment against Ali, the judgment has been “assigned,” or transferred, to a third party, Capital Asset Protection.

Arden Silverman, the owner of Calabasas-based Capital Asset Protection, echoed the Los Angeles magazine article, telling The Times that Ali was “more difficult than average” to track down. Ali has no property and does not have “any known local bank accounts,” according to court papers.

“He seems to cast more of a shadow than your traditional person,” Silverman said. “Notwithstanding his persona on social media, he’s been a bit more difficult to ascertain his whereabouts,” adding, “‘Hiding in plain sight’ might be a good moniker.”

In the court filing, Silverman’s company is also seeking to prevent Paypal, Venmo, Square, GoFundMe, Zelle, Huffpost, MSNBC News, New York magazine and X Corp, the parent company of Twitter, from sending Ali “any compensation” — essentially diverting his income until the debt is paid off.

Silverman said he was less familiar with the underlying dispute that led to the judgment against Ali and was instead focused on simply obtaining the money now owed.

“By the time it gets to me, there’s only a piece of paper that says, ‘A owes B,’” Silverman said.
A hearing on the motion is scheduled for July 5.