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Hartmann says he had 'great run' at Sun

By Brian Hallenbeck

Publication: The Day

Published November 20. 2012 4:00AM

Jeffrey Hartmann, the longtime Mohegan Sun executive whose 21-month stint as president and chief executive officer ended in September, said Monday he enjoyed "a great run" at the casino and was looking forward to the next phase of his life.

Hartmann spoke publicly for the first time since his departure, which the Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority announced Sept. 27, the same day it revealed it was laying off more than 300 employees. Bobby Soper, then the president and CEO of Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., was named Hartmann's successor.

The authority, an arm of the Mohegan Tribe, will continue to pay Hartmann for the next two years, according to a filing Friday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

"The authority has accepted Mr. Hartmann's resignation and the parties have mutually agreed to terminate Mr. Hartmann's amended employment agreement dated Feb. 14, 2012," the filing says. "Mr. Hartmann will receive a continuation of his salary through Sept. 26, 2014 and remains subject to a one year non-compete."

The employment agreement called for Hartmann to be paid an annual salary in excess of $1.3 million as of July 1, 2012. The deal was to extend to June 30, 2015.

Hartmann, 51, of Old Lyme said he was starting his own consulting company, The Hartmann Group, "capitalizing on my 28 years of experience." He said the firm aims to help companies in the gaming and hospitality industries achieve their financial objectives. It will focus on corporate finances, real estate development and "turnaround" plans for distressed operations, he said.

The non-compete clause will prevent him from advising gaming companies for a year, Hartmann said.

A certified public accountant, Hartmann began his career with Price Waterhouse in 1984 and joined Foxwoods Management Co. in 1991. He signed on with Mohegan Sun in 1996, serving as chief financial officer and then chief operating officer before taking over as CEO in January 2011.

"I had a great 15 years (at Mohegan Sun)," he said. "It was great fun, and a lot of great people. I have to thank Len Wolman and Kevin DeSanctis, who brought me in, and the late Bill Velardo, who was a great influence."

Wolman and DeSanctis were members of Trading Cove Associates, which managed Mohegan Sun in its first years of operation; Velardo was the casino's general manager and then its first president and CEO.

"I appreciate everything the tribe has done for me and my family," Hartmann added.

Hartmann praised the 40-year-old Soper, who is a Mohegan tribal member, noting Mohegan leaders have long wanted tribal members to manage the tribe's flagship casino.

"It's always been his desire to have Mohegans working in the operation," Hartmann said, referring to tribal Chairman Bruce "Two Dogs" Bozsum.

"I think Bobby will do a great job; he's had the training and he's smart," Hartmann said of Soper. "The employees are in good hands with Bobby and Ray Pineault. They're the future of the tribe."

Pineault, the casino's executive vice president and chief operating officer, is also a tribal member.

According to the authority's most recent annual report, for the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2011, Soper's contract as president and CEO of the Pocono Downs facility called for an annual salary of $453,434.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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