Bobby Soper, president and CEO of Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority and former president of Mohegan Sun Pocono, resigned from his position Tuesday as the authority deals with an investigation into financial irregularities.
According to a press release from the authority, Soper resigned Tuesday “to pursue other opportunities effective immediately.”
The authority filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Wednesday to delay filing its latest quarterly report in order to allow former CEO Mitchell Grossinger Etess, who was appointed as interim CEO upon Soper’s departure, time to review it.
The filing states the authority was notified Feb. 2 that a review by the Office of Enforcement Counsel of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board to explore “possible operational control deficiencies” at Mohegan Sun Pocono was almost complete.
The SEC filing also states that, based on the review, the Plains Township casino will be “subject to disciplinary action including a fine and undertakings to remediate the issues identified by the OEC.”
Those operational control deficiencies are listed in the filing as its “system of tracking and reporting the issuance of certain customer incentives such as free slot play.”
Three people await sentencing in connection with a gaming scheme committed between May 2014 to April 2015 that bilked the casino out of $422,000. Robert Pellegrini, a former vice president of player development at the casino, and Mark Heltzel pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in December.
Pellegrini, 50, of Fairview Township, and Heltzel, 52, of Dallas, face up to 20 years in prison and a $500,000 fine under the maximum terms of their plea agreements to the felony charge. The men also agreed to make full restitution.
A third participant, former cocktail waitress Rochelle Poszeluznyj, pleaded guilty to an identical charge in September.
According to the filing, the authority reported to the OEC Feb. 14 that it terminated its relationship with Wilkes-Barre marketing and advertising company ReferLocal in January. The two companies had had a relationship since 2011. It was revealed that Soper had a previously undisclosed 5-percent equity interest in ReferLocal.
Legal counsel for ReferLocal sent a letter to the authority Feb. 3 stating the company “had suffered damages in connection with the termination” of the business relationship and “may seek recovery of damages” from the authority and Soper.
According to the authority’s first quarter of 2017 operating results, the organization suffered net loss of $51.6 million, partly attributed to decreased slot play at Mohegan Sun Pocono and higher corporate expenses, resulting in “year-over-year declines.” The authority reported a 17.6 percent decrease in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization compared to the first quarter in 2016.
Soper left his post at Mohegan Sun Pocono in 2012 to head the authority’s flagship casino in Uncasville, Conn. He was promoted to president and CEO of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority in March 2015.
Soper was replaced by Mike Bean, who resigned from the position in May 2016. Tony Carlucci is the current president of Mohegan Sun Pocono.