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State will not prosecute dealer in casino threat case

The state has decided not to prosecute a former Foxwoods Resort Casino dealer who had been charged with threatening to bring a gun to work and start shooting people if he was laid off.

Zbigniew “Ben” Sobala, 55, of Ledyard was charged Aug. 27 with breach of peace and threatening. He also was fired from his position and banned from the casino, according to his attorney, M. John Strafaci.

Sobala was to go on trial today in New London Superior Court, but prosecutor Michael Kennedy decided to “nolle,” or not prosecute, the charges. Strafaci said a video tape of the alleged incident, produced as the case was to go before a jury, proved his case. A co-worker, William Marin, had contacted the casino’s security department to report that Sobala, a table games dealer and supervisor, had made a threat after hearing of impending layoffs. The security department notified the state police Casino & Licensing Unit, which obtained an arrest warrant. Marin said that Sobala, while walking out of the casino with Marin at the end of their Aug. 24 shift, stated that if he was fired “he should come in and shoot everybody.” Sobala denied making a threat and said that on the night in question, he and Marin were happy because they were able to leave work early.

Strafaci said the videotape showed Sobala, Marin and another man laughing and joking as they walked to a parking garage. He said his client is fighting now to keep his gaming license and would be appearing before a review board at Foxwoods to state his case. He said Sobala, who emigrated from Poland more than 20 years ago after receiving political asylum, had worked in Atlantic City before coming to Connecticut.

“It’s ruined his life,” Strafaci said of the arrest. “The only thing he’s got is his reputation and name in the gaming industry.”

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