Mohegan Sun Drops Lawsuit Against NHL’s Ottawa Senators Owner Eugene Melnyk
Posted on: July 13, 2021, 01:41h.
Last updated on: July 13, 2021, 04:52h.
Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun casino has dropped a million-dollar lawsuit against Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. The lawsuit alleged the Canadian had stiffed the casino out of $900,000 in unpaid markers, The Day reports.
Mohegan Sun sued Melnyk, a pharmaceutical billionaire, in the New London Superior Court in June 2019. The casino claimed he had racked up the debt during a St Patrick’s Day weekend gambling spree in 2017.
It’s not clear what caused Mohegan Sun to withdraw its lawsuit or whether a settlement has been reached. Melnyk vigorously contested the case.
Neither party was prepared to comment Tuesday.
‘Bad-Faith’ Bank Drafts
According to the lawsuit, Melnyk gave the casino five bank drafts in exchange for credit, which his bank in Toronto later failed to honor. The first was issued on Friday, March 17, according to court documents. Four more were issued on Sunday, March 19, three within one hour of one another. The first four were for $200,000 each, the last for $100,000.
Mohegan Sun sought the $900,000 it believed it was owed, plus $180,000 in damages, costs, and interest.
But Melnyk’s lawyers argued the casino waited more than five months to present the drafts for payment, which caused them to become “stale.” They also said that the “questionable appearance” of some of the signatures was part of the reason they were refused by the bank.
Melnyk’s team also argued that Mohegan Sun had procured some of the drafts in bad faith, by refusing to let their client cash out his chips when he was winning. Instead, they claim, casino management encouraged him to continue gambling until he lost big.
The casino’s lawyers employed a handwriting expert to authenticate Melnyk’s signatures by comparing them to several verified examples. The expert deemed it “highly likely” Melnyk had signed the drafts.
In 2018, Canadian Business estimated noted philanthropist Melnyk’s net worth to be around $1.15 billion and ranked him Canada’s 92nd-wealthiest individual. The Toronto-born tycoon founded the pharmaceuticals company Biovail Corp, which he exited in 2010. He now lives exclusively in the Bahamas.
In 2008, he was charged by the US Securities and Exchange Commission with fraudulent accounting. The charge stemmed from allegedly deceiving Biovail investors by falsely inflating profits and hiding losses. He was banned from holding executive positions within public companies in Canada for five years.
In 2003, he was seen as the Senators’ savior when he rescued the team from bankruptcy. But he has become a less popular figure with fans in recent years for trading star players in the name of “rebuilding” the team.
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