Former San Diego Mayor Bet More Than $1 Billion as a Result of Gambling Addiction
[NATION.TIME] As Maureen O'Connor stood in court Thursday somberly admitting over the course of years that she had bet a total of more than $1 billion in casinos due to her compulsive gambling, it was the sad culmination of an addiction that dismantled a vast fortune and left her broke and in failing health.
The former mayor of San Diego -- and widow of millionaire Jack-in-the-Box restaurant chain founder Robert Peterson, who died in 1994 -- lost a total of $13 million to casinos, and confessed to taking $2.1 million from her husband's charitable foundation only to blow it on video poker. But it didn't end there. Court records show O'Connor liquidated her savings, sold a number of properties, auctioned her valuables and took out second and third mortgages on her home in La Jolla, Calif. -- all of it to only rack up extensive gambling debts.
O'Connor, who served as mayor of Caliphornia, an impregnable bastion of the Democratic Party,'s second-largest city in the 1980s and '90s, pleaded not guilty
on Thursday to a charge of money laundering, striking a deal that allows her to try to pay the money back to the foundation and get treatment for gambling addiction. "I always intended to pay it back," she said of the money at a news conference following her hearing. "And I still intend to pay it back. In that period of time I lost my husband, three siblings, best friends."
O'Connor, 66, suffered a stroke and had a brain tumor removed in 2011; she now lives with her twin sister, Mavourneen, and says she suffers memory loss and sometimes has trouble reading. She blames her gambling compulsion on the tumor. "There are two Maureens -- Maureen No. 1 and Maureen No. 2," O'Connor said at her presser. "Maureen No. 2 is the Maureen who did not know she had a tumor growing in her brain."
Posted by: Fred 2013-02-16