The former CEO of the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority (MTGA) is pushing back against suggestions that his abrupt exit had anything to do with an internal fraud at one of the tribe’s casinos.
Last Tuesday, the MTGA announced that CEO Bobby Soper (pictured) was leaving the organization a year before his current contract expired to “take on a new challenge.” The following day, the MTGA announced that it was being investigated by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board (PGCB) for “possible operational control deficiencies” at the tribe’s Mohegan Sun Pocono casino in Wilkes-Barre.
The MTGA’s filing said the PGCB was probing the Pocono property’s “system of tracking and reporting the issuance of certain customer incentives such as free slot play.” The same property was the site of a scandal last year involving VP of player development Robert Pellegrini and two accomplices that used bogus reward cards loaded with free slots credits to take the casino for over $422k.
On Monday, Soper told The Citizens’ Voice that his resignation was in no way connected with the Pellegrini fraud. Soper, who managed the Pocono venue until 2012, wanted to make it “unequivocally clear” that while Pelegrini’s antics were underway, “I neither oversaw the property nor had any role at MTGA related to Mohegan Sun Pocono.”
Soper also refuted a claim made in the MTGA filing that he’d failed to disclose a ownership 5% stake in ReferLocal, a marketing and advertising firm that did business with the Pocono property since 2011 – having been hired during Soper’s time running the property – despite not being registered with Pennsylvania regulators as a gaming service provider.
Soper told The Citizens’ Voice that he’d disclosed his ReferLocal stake to Mitchell Etess, the former MTGA CEO who was Soper’s supervisor at the time. Etess is currently serving as interim CEO of the MTGA until Soper’s permanent replacement can be identified.