Ex-San Diego Mayor's Gambling Wagers Top $1 Billion

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 Former San Diego mayor Maureen O'Connor (ZUMAPress)
By ELLIOT SPAGAT

SAN DIEGO (AP) - Former San Diego Mayor Maureen O'Connor acknowledged Thursday in federal court that she took $2.1 million from her late husband's charitable foundation and gambled it away during a nearly decade-long binge when she wagered more than $1 billion.

O'Connor, 66, pleaded not guilty to money laundering under a deal with federal prosecutors that will allow her to defer prosecution for two years as she works to repay the money.

Her lawyer blamed gambling addiction and said his client wound up losing $13 million while playing mainly video poker at casinos in San Diego, Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J.

O'Connor was the Democratic leader of California's second-largest city from 1986 to 1992. She was elected for two terms as San Diego's first female leader after eight years on the City Council. She was married to Robert O. Peterson, founder of the Jack in the Box restaurant chain.

Maureen O'Connor (ZUMAPress)She wagered more than $1 billion from 2000 to 2009, with a net loss of $13 million, according to her attorney.

"Maureen O'Connor was a selfless public official who contributed much to the well-being of San Diego," said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy. "However, no figure, regardless of how much good they've done or how much they've given to charity can escape criminal liability with impunity."

O'Connor walked with a cane and appeared frail, struggling to maintain composure in court as her attorney wrapped his arm around her shoulder. At a news conference, she said she always intended to repay the foundation and appeared to blame her behavior on a brain tumor that was diagnosed in 2011.

"There are two Maureens - Maureen No. 1 and Maureen No. 2," she said. "Maureen No. 2 is the Maureen who did not know she had a tumor growing in her brain."

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mmdbeamer

She took 2 million of charity money, when she was working for a living.
Crooked politician....she didn't spend her own paychecks

February 26 2013 at 3:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mmdbeamer

"Lilly white San Diego" typical politics, Maureen stole that donation money, greedy, greedy greedy, just like a lot of other San Diegans and Californians............
She took it from a charity! Money buys her ought? I don't think so.
Apparently money buys a lot of people ought, pretty shallow, coniving, lechers............

February 26 2013 at 3:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jsinvent

Brain Tumor made me do it. Don't tell Obama that it will be his next line.

February 16 2013 at 9:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Margaret

CAN NO ONE READ AND UNDERSTAND A SIMPLE NEWS ARTICLE ANYMORE? Here's the simplified version for you:

She DIDN"T steal a billion dollars from anyone! That's right, she never even had one billion dollars at any one time!

What she stole was $2.1 million, and it was from a charity set up by her husband and her, and to which she and her husband contributed many millions over the years. This doesn't make it any less of a serious theft, however she didn't take the one billion dollar sum that most people are ranting about.

She WAGERED a compounded sum of app. one billion dollars over 10 years, never at once. She was betting over and over again, plowing her winnings back in, as most gambling addicts do. The total amount of all the wagers she made over that ten year period added up to a billion dollars, but could well have been the same $13,000,000 over and over and over again. She had a total net loss of $13,000,000 after doing this for ten years, which is actually a pretty good run for a gambler, percentage-wise
.
She has to pay the $2.1 million back, and will also have to pay interest and penalties. She WILL face trial on these charges at the end of the 2 year period. Her prosecution has only been deferred, likely due to her health issues and the greater likelihood of repayment if she is not in prison.

February 16 2013 at 1:21 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
krzyston

Take calculated risks. That is quite different from being rash … George S Patton
ALEX KRZYSTON https://sites.google.com/site/alexkrzyston20

February 16 2013 at 12:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
TB

Takes a long time for the 'media' to point it out if it's a democrat.....we all know the flipside, however.

February 15 2013 at 6:50 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Wm Good

If I had done this, if only I had had that kind of means at my disposal, do you suppose the courts would be so lenient? I doubt it. It's all about how much justice you can afford.

February 15 2013 at 5:15 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
chp391

Really? She had every intention with paying the money back? Yet continued to take from the fund over a decade. Send her a$$ to jail. That is where we would be. A crook is a crook!

February 15 2013 at 4:59 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
sstuczynsk

as we say in Polish, tough shitski.Do the crime, do the time. Stealing form a charitable foundation is a double crime. She stole from people benefiting from the charity.

February 15 2013 at 4:52 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
Bill

This woman looks like aunt BEE

February 15 2013 at 4:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply