Mohegan chairman's resignation came at end of high-profile period

Mohegan — Kevin Brown’s resignation Friday as chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council came at the end of a two-week stretch in which he kept a high profile, addressing a state legislative committee considering gaming matters, speaking at a local chamber of commerce event and participating in a quarterly earnings call with gaming analysts.

On none of the occasions was there any public indication Brown intended to resign.  

On Friday, Brown informed the council that he was stepping down as chairman for personal reasons, effective immediately. A message that Chuck Bunnell, the Mohegan Tribe’s chief of staff, sent to tribal members and employees announced that Brown would remain a member of the council and of the management board of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, the corporate entity that owns and/or manages the tribe’s far-flung gaming enterprises, which include Mohegan Sun; Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.; casinos in Louisiana, New Jersey and Washington state; and a resort casino project under construction in South Korea.

Brown’s resignation includes the chairmanship of the management board.

The day before the announcement, Brown made no mention of his imminent change in status when he participated in the conference call with analysts seeking to learn details of MGE’s first fiscal quarter, which ended Dec. 31. MGE's quarterly report, dated Thursday, bears Brown's signature. 

On Monday of last week, Brown appeared at an event in Waterford at which the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut named Rodney Butler, the Mashantucket Pequot chairman, as the chamber’s Citizen of the Year.

Tony Sheridan, the chamber president and chief executive officer, said he had no inkling that Brown intended to resign.

“He’s done a marvelous job as chairman,” Sheridan said. “He’s a class act.”

Brown and Butler addressed the legislature’s Public Safety and Security Committee on Jan. 29 in Hartford, voicing their tribes’ commitment to developing a commercial casino in East Windsor. The tribes, who formed a joint venture to pursue the project, unveiled a name for it, Tribal Winds, prior to the legislative forum.

The announcement of Brown’s resignation indicated that the tribe has asked James Gessner Jr., the council vice chairman, to assume the role of interim chairman “for the foreseeable future.”

The nine council members, elected by the tribal membership, serve staggered, four-year terms. The council elects the chairman.

Brown’s term, his second, extends to 2021, as does Gessner's.

The terms of four council members are up this year: Mark Brown, Kevin Brown’s brother; Thayne Hutchins Jr.; Cheryl Todd; and Joe Smith. In addition to Kevin Brown and Gessner, the other council members are Kathy Regan-Pyne, William Quidgeon Jr., and Sarah Harris.

Brown did not respond Monday to a message seeking comment.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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