Mohegan Tribal Council Member Kevin Brown Soon Likely to Resign Following Inquiry
Posted on: June 30, 2019, 11:01h.
Last updated on: July 1, 2019, 05:40h.
Mohegan Tribal Council Ex-Chairman Kevin Brown is leaving the council completely following an ethics investigation, according to a Connecticut news report.
Brown previously quit the chairman’s post in February for “personal reasons.” But last week, his pending departure from the nine-member tribal council was revealed — as was an investigation into alleged violations of the tribe’s code of ethics, The Day newspaper reported citing unnamed sources.
The Day added the allegations related to alleged breaches of confidentiality and possibly other issues.
The inquiry was done by a firm that handles ethics complaints for Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment (MGE). That is the gaming arm of the tribe.
Brown, also a member of the MGE Management Board, is expected to leave that board, too. MGE includes Connecticut’s Mohegan Sun gaming venue; Mohegan Sun Pocono, a Pennsylvania racetrack casino; and management/consulting services for other gaming venues.
Brown — who was first elected to the council in 2013 — could quit the council and the MGE board as early as this week, the news report said. He reportedly has been on unpaid leave.
Brown was earning over $200,000 from the MGE board during the fiscal year that ended last September. Brown and tribal officials did not respond to the newspaper’s request last week for comments.
Awaiting Progress on Tribal Casino in East Windsor
Earlier this year, Brown and Mashantucket Pequot Chair Rodney Butler got attention in the media as they led the effort to jointly open a satellite casino in East Windsor, Connecticut on non-sovereign land. It is tentatively being called Tribal Winds — and once opened is likely to compete with the nearby MGM Springfield, which opened last August.
As of last month, the tribes appeared to be still searching for financing to begin construction on the East Windsor venue, according to the Connecticut Post newspaper. The tribes have already spent some $14 million on the $300 million casino.
Approvals for the venue were caught up in litigation and federal regulatory issues. Those were resolved in March.
Under a compact between the tribes and the state, Connecticut gets 25 percent of slot machine revenue from Foxwoods — owned by the Mashantucket Pequots — and Mohegan Sun. That totals approximately $270 million a year.
In return, the agreement gives the tribes exclusivity on some kinds of gambling. MGM Resorts has legally challenged whether Connecticut should give the tribes exclusivity for gaming venues outside of the reservations.
The gaming operator wants to see competitive bidding for non-reservation casino projects. For instance, MGM has proposed building a $675 million casino on the shorefront in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
Bridgeport Casino Debate
But Gov. Ned Lamont wants the tribes as developers of any possible casino in Bridgeport. Last month, Lamont said that any gaming venue in Bridgeport must include the two tribes.
Earlier this year, a proposal was released from the tribes and the city of Bridgeport. It includes $100 million for the casino from the tribes.
An additional $100 million would come from the state and possibly Bridgeport for related infrastructure improvements. At least another $100 million in private funds would pay for a hotel.
Connecticut’s legislature did not approve the Bridgeport tribal casino proposal in this past session. The delay was backed by Lamont who apparently still favors tribal participation.
It is possible the proposal could be addressed in a special legislative session this summer. As envisioned, the Bridgeport tribal casino would have: 2,000 slot machines, 100 table games, a 500-room hotel, spa, restaurants, and retail shopping.
MGM Wants Expanded Gaming in Yonkers
In January, MGM Resorts acquired the Empire City Casino in Yonkers, New York, about an hour’s drive from Bridgeport. The gaming operator wants to expand its offerings there beyond just slots to live classic table games like blackjack and baccarat.
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