The Mohegan Sun casino in Connecticut has dropped its lawsuit against Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk relating to an alleged $900,000 gambling debt. The plaintiff claimed that the pharmaceutical billionaire and NHL team owner had $900,000 in unpaid casino markers from his visit to the casino resort over St. Patrick’s Day weekend in 2017.
it is unclear if there was ultimately a settlement between the parties
The Mohegan Sun filed the lawsuit in June 2019 in the New London Superior Court. Melnyk fought the case and it is unclear if there was ultimately a settlement between the parties or if Mohegan Sun decided to withdraw the lawsuit on Friday for another reason. Neither side commented on the issue on Tuesday.
Opposing the claims
The lawsuit alleged that Melnyk had given five bank drafts – four for $200,000, one for $100,000 – to the casino in exchange for credit. His Toronto bank, however, allegedly failed to ultimately honor these drafts. Mohegan Sun was seeking this $900,000, as well as $180,000 in costs, damages, and interest.
Melnyk’s defense team claimed that it took over five months for the casino to seek payment from the bank, leading to these drafts becoming “stale.” They also explained how the bank refused the payment partially because some of the signatures appeared “questionable.” A handwriting expert that the casino’s lawyers hired stated that after comparing the signatures, it was “highly likely” that they belonged to Melnyk.
The defense team also claimed that the Mohegan Sun would not let the billionaire cash out when he was winning. Casino management allegedly kept encouraging him to keep gambling until he eventually lost.
Who is Eugene Melnyk?
The subject of the dropped lawsuit is Eugene Melnyk, the founder of the pharmaceutical company Biovail Corporation. His net worth was estimated at $1.2bn in 2020 and he spends most of his time these days in the Bahamas. The Canadian bought the NHL’s Ottawa Senators in 2003 when the organization was experiencing serious financial problems.
Melnyk has had legal issues in the past, most notably when the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged him in 2008 with fraudulent accounting. He allegedly deceived Biovail investors by hiding losses and falsely inflating the profits. As a result of the case, he was prohibited from being able to hold an executive position at a Canadian public company for five years.