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TV Exec Agrees to Pay Gambling Debt

24 March 2011 by admin

jerome-powers-headshotIt looks like the Mohegan Sun casino will get its money after all. Jerome Powers, co-chairman and CEO of Plum TV, owner of the magazine Plum Miami and the founder of Ocean Drive, has agreed to pay his $1.2 million gambling debt to the Connecticut casino.

Back in May 2009, Powers took out a $1.2 million loan from the casino. After losing the money, he wrote six checks to the casino to repay the loan. However, payment on the first check was stopped and the other five were returned because the account was closed. The Mohegan Sun sued him in November 2009 and later won the case, with the court ordering him to repay the debt to the casino.

plum_miamiDuring the case, Powers gave two reasons that he shouldn’t have to pay. First, he said that the loan was an illegal gambling contract. The court ruled, however, that gambling contracts are legal as long as the gambling is legal, which it was. He also ruled that a Connecticut court has no jurisdiction over the case because it happened on sovereign tribal territory. That argument was also shot down due to legal precedent. The Mohegan tribe has its own court system, but they may also bring it up in a state court if they choose.

After losing the case, Powers appealed the decision to a Connecticut appellate court, asking them to overturn the lower court’s ruling and absolve him of his gambling debt. He was determined to fight the case, but since then he has changed his mind. A spokesman for Plum TV told the New York Post that Powers “is currently in settlement discussions with Mohegan Sun to drop his appeal and pay his gambling obligations in full.”

Why he changed his mind is unclear, but it probably had a lot to do with the negative attention Powers was getting in the press, which isn’t good for his magazine or television network. Another problem is that if he continues the fight, it’s conceivable that the Mohegan Sun could end up owning part of his company, something others on the board of directors wouldn’t want. The Post reports that last weekend, the board of Plum Media met in what they describe as a “tense meeting.” It is likely that during the meeting, the board convinced Powers that, for the good of the company, he should settle with the casino, especially since the millionaire should have no problem paying.

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