Plum TV Exec Fights Mohegan Sun Over Gambling Debt

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HARTFORD, Conn. – (Associated Press) - A Florida millionaire accused of walking out on a $1.2 million gambling debt is fighting Mohegan Sun in court, arguing that the state judicial system cannot decide the case because the casino is run by a sovereign American Indian tribe.

Jerome Powers, chief executive of the cable television network Plum TV, asked the state Appellate Court this week to throw out a lower court's ruling that would allow Mohegan Sun to seize his assets ahead of a potential final judgment against him. It's not clear when the Appellate Court will take up the case.

Powers, 64, of Miami Beach, Fla., gambled away $1.2 million in credit that Mohegan Sun loaned him in May 2009, according to a lawsuit the casino filed against Powers in November 2009. Court documents filed by Powers say the casino solicited him to open a line of credit and to travel to the facility in Uncasville in eastern Connecticut, where he played blackjack.

Powers wrote six checks to the casino to pay his debt, but they were not honored by his bank, court documents say. Payment was stopped on a $465,000 check, and the others were returned because the accounts were closed, according to copies of the returned checks.

In fighting the casino's lawsuit, Powers contends that the credit agreement was an illegal gambling contract under state law and that state courts have no jurisdiction because the casino is run by the sovereign Mohegan Tribe.

Judge Trial Referee Robert Leuba at New London Superior Court rejected those arguments in his January ruling that allowed the casino to attach Powers' assets up to a total of $1.2 million, which prompted the appeal Monday to the Appellate Court.

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