Casino M8trix CEO Eric Swallow is walking away from the business amid conflicts with his business partners.
A PR firm on Monday confirmed that Swallow has stepped down from the CEO role and Pete Lunardi, one of the casino owners, has taken over operations.
Swallow has also confirmed with MercuryNews that he is in the process of selling his shares, the profits of which are estimated to be $11m annually.
“It was just an asset, and I’m actually excited to be free of it,” Swallow said. “I’m not going miss it at all. It was a lot of work and it’s nice not to have to deal with all of the red tape and issues that go along with such a large operation.”
Swallow and partners Lunardi and wife Jeanine were accused of diverting money to limited liability corporations controlled by the trio last year, listing the transfers as expense payments in order to reduce their tax obligations and social program contributions.
The Lunardis took a settlement and agreed to pay more than $1.7 million in penalties and to testify against Swallow. The Lunardis’ attorney Tracey Buck-Walsh said her clients were “blindsided” by the profit-skimming allegations.
Swallow said that he was “disappointed” the Lunardis turned on him by testifying against him.
“I was disappointed that they would, in essence, lie to save themselves,” said Swallow. “I feel bad for people that will do anything to save their hides. Lots of people will do anything under certain pressure.”
Swallow also came under fire from police for allowing gamers to play on the top floor of the M8trix tower, reminiscent of the exclusive high-rise, high-roller rooms in Las Vegas. Police leaders said officers wouldn’t be able to spring surprise inspections after riding eight floors on an elevator. Swallow sued the city but lost.
Swallow’s case, which began in August, recently concluded and now an administrative law judge has 30 days to issue a decision to be presented to the California Gambling Control Commission for approval.