A Mayor lost $1 billion gambling with charity money. Democrat Maureen O’Connor, a two-term Democrat who served between 1986 and 1992, is charged with money laundering.
Former San Diego mayor Maureen O’Connor siphoned $2 million from her late husband’s charity, R.P. Foundation. Robert O. Peterson died in 1994 but he made his riches as a co-founder of the Jack-In-The-Box restaurant chain and a Southern California bank that was acquired by Union Bank. The former mayor lost $1 billion after spending nine years on a gambling spree that turned the $2 million into a little over $1 billion before losing it all to casinos in in San Diego, Las Vegas and Atlantic City.
According to USA Today, the U.S. attorney’s office described the large number of gambling debts that led the former mayor to lose $1 billion:
“In order to stay afloat financially and continue her gambling spree, O’Connor liquidated her savings, sold numerous real estate holdings and auctioned valuable personal items. She also obtained second and third mortgages on her personal residence in La Jolla, California.
“By September 2008, O’Connor had few, if any, assets that had not been mortgaged, sold off, or otherwise liquidated. At that point, she turned to the Foundation’s assets to both pay her outstanding debts and continue her high-stakes gambling.”
According to Fox news, Maureen O’Connor says she seek treatment for gambling addiction and “she always meant to pay back millions of dollars she took from her deceased husband’s charitable foundation. The 66 year old entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with federal prosecutors.” O’Connor has agreed to repay the R.P. Foundation the $2 million within two years.
TheU-T San Diego reported what O’Connor said about her losing $1 billion at a press conference with her attorneys after the federal court hearing:
“I always intended to pay it back, and I still intend to pay it back. In that period of time I lost my husband, three siblings, best friends. Most of you know, I never meant to hurt the city.”
Maureen O’Connor is reportedly destitute and suffering from poor health after a large tumor was removed from her brain.
Since the former mayor lost $1 billion, do you think it’s fair that Maureen O’Connor repay only $2 million even despite her current financial and physical health?