Former San Diego mayor blames brain tumor for stealing $2 million from charity

By Arturo Garcia
Friday, February 15, 2013 12:42 EDT
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Former San Diego mayor Maureen O'Connor admits to taking more than $2 million from dead husband's charitable foundation
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A former California mayor admitted in federal court on Thursday to stealing more than $2 million from her dead husband’s charity to fuel a $1 billion gambling binge.

According to KPCC-FM, Maureen O’Connor revealed her activities as part of an deferred-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. The former mayor of San Diego pleaded not guilty to money-laundering charges, and now has two years to repay the charity.

O’Connor’s attorney said the former mayor suffered from a gambling addiction that caused her to lose $13 million, mostly playing video poker at casinos both locally and in Nevada and New Jersey.

The Associated Press reported that O’Connor, who served as mayor from 1986 to 1992, blamed her gambling largess on a brain tumor that was not diagnosed until 2011.

“There are two Maureens — Maureen No. 1 and Maureen No. 2,” she said in a statement. “Maureen No. 2 is the Maureen who did not know she had a tumor growing in her brain.”

O’Connor inherited between $40 million and $50 million from her late husband, fast food magnate Robert O. Peterson. But her attorney said she is now almost broke, and living with her sister.

Watch KFMB-TV’s report on O’Connor’s court appearance, aired Thursday, below.

Arturo Garcia
Arturo Garcia
Arturo R. García is the managing editor at Racialicious.com. He is based in San Diego, California and has written for both print and broadcast media, including contributions to GlobalComment.com, The Root and Comment Is Free. Follow him on Twitter at @ABoyNamedArt
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