Foxwoods Casino Chair: bribes and a "laundry list of convicted felons" for associates

In case you were wondering how much seedier the dealings with casinos in Philadelphia could get, consider the latest news about Foxwoods chair Michael Thomas.

Apparently Thomas knows quite a bit about running up a debt - he's being sued by Sovereign Bank for $6.5 million owed to them from a line of credit Thomas (in a countersuit) claims was initially offered to him as a bribe.

In a twist, Thomas claims that "since the loan was made 'against public policy' and with the intent to 'violate the law,'the loan documents are void, the argument goes, and therefore Thomas cannot be compelled to pay the money back."

Nice.

But as the case unveils in Superior Court, there's a lot more than just an eyebrow-raising countersuit. Consider this:

According to Sovereign, the investors with an interest in that property include some of the principal characters in the collapse of Colonial Realty in the 1990s, Connecticut's own Madoff-style Ponzi scheme in which local investors lost hundreds of millions of dollars.

Among those with an interest in the Groton property that was put up to secure Thomas' loan, the bank said in court papers, are Jonathan Googel, a Colonial founder who pleaded guilty in federal court to wire fraud, bank fraud and tax fraud; Kevin Sisti, the son of another Colonial founder, who pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge for taking loan proceeds for his father, and William P. Candelori, a former state lawmaker and Colonial executive, who pleaded guilty to federal tax evasion.

These and others have all been named in new complaints filed in Sovereign's suit against Thomas, which is drawing defendants and their lawyers like cloud banks to a gathering storm.

“It's a laundry list of convicted felons,” one person familiar with the case said of the growing list of defendants.

That includes Thomas himself, who was convicted as a young man on drug-dealing charges in Rhode Island.

Helping Thomas with advice about the Sovereign loan and other personal business matters, according to people familiar with the Sovereign case, is none other than Daniel Gordon, one of eastern Connecticut's most notorious white-collar criminals.

In a case that prosecutors called astonishing for its sophistication and brazenness, Gordon, a Norwich native, was accused of embezzling $43 million from Merrill Lynch when he was a top energy trader for the firm.

As columnist David Collins muses:

I wonder what gaming regulators in Pennsylvania will think of all of this, bribes and criminal associations, when Thomas' gaming license, part of the tribe's pursuit of a share in a Philadelphia casino, comes up for its annual review for renewal.

Yikes! If he accepted the

Yikes!

If he accepted the loan, which he now maintains was a bribe, and he collateralized the loan with his equity interest in a property, then isn't he saying - in official court papers - that he accepted a bribe?

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