WFAN host's legal woes jeopardize Mohegan Sun eatery

Mohegan — Craig Carton, the WFAN sports talk show host charged with running a Ponzi scheme to pay gambling debts, may not be branding a restaurant at Mohegan Sun any time soon.

Carton and Boomer Esiason, co-hosts of the early-morning “Boomer & Carton Show,” had been expected to lend their names to Boomer & Carton Kitchen, a casual restaurant that was to be located in Fidelia’s Market, a food court near Mohegan Sun’s Winter Entrance.

A sign saying the restaurant was “Coming Soon” was in place Wednesday.

“We are working to have the sign removed,” Ray Pineault, the Mohegan Sun president and general manager, said via email. “Given the recent events, we are further re-evaluating the concept, and are not certain it will proceed.”

Carton was arrested Sept. 6 at his Manhattan home on charges he conspired to run a Ponzi scheme and engaged in a ticket-selling scam that raised more than $5 million.

In a related civil case, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged Carton and a New York businessman falsely claimed they had access to large numbers of concert tickets that could be resold at marked-up prices. But, instead, the commission alleged, the men “misappropriated” at least $3.6 million they collected from investors to repay other investors and “cover such other expenses as Carton’s gambling debts.”

Carton allegedly stole an additional $2 million from an investor.

Suspended by WFAN, Carton has denied the charges.

According to the commission’s complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Carton began soliciting investments in ticket-reselling enterprises “in or around the middle of 2016, at about the time he accrued millions of dollars’ worth of gambling-related debts to casinos and other third parties.”

The complaint says Carton stated in a September 2016 email to associates that he owed a total of $500,000 “to two particular casinos.” In December, the complaint alleges, Carton forwarded “the majority” of $600,000 “to various casinos.”

Carton and Esiason, a former NFL quarterback, have on occasion broadcast from Mohegan Sun properties, most recently the casino’s Baltic golf course in July. They aired their Oct. 14, 2016, show from Mohegan Sun’s Wolf Den, chatting during the broadcast with Kevin Brown, the Mohegan tribal chairman, and Mitchell Etess, president and chief executive officer of the casino’s corporate parent.

Etess said Wednesday he couldn’t comment on the extent to which Carton may or may not have gambled during his Mohegan Sun visits or whether he owed the casino money at any time. He said Carton is not currently a Mohegan Sun creditor.

A Boomer & Carton Kitchen that opened in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 2013 is no longer operating, a spokeswoman for Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment, which operates the arena, said Wednesday.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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