Voting in Mohegan Tribal Council election to end Sunday

Mohegan — Mark Brown, the longest-serving member of the Mohegan Tribal Council, is among three incumbents seeking re-election to the nine-member panel in secret-ballot voting set to end Sunday.

A total of four seats are up for election. A fifth seat, left vacant by the resignation of former Chairman Kevin Brown, Mark’s younger brother, will be filled in an upcoming special election. Council terms are four years.

First elected to the council following the tribe’s federal recognition, Mark Brown has served continuously since 1995. He chaired the council from 2000 to 2005, a period of major expansion at Mohegan Sun, the tribe’s Uncasville casino. Before joining the council, he was a Norwich police officer.

Incumbents Thayne Hutchins Jr. and Joe Smith, a cousin of the Browns, also are seeking re-election. A fourth incumbent whose term is ending, Cheryl Todd, did not run for another term.

The other candidates, according to sources, include John Harris, Jay Ihloff, Patricia LaPierre, Joanne Regan and Joseph Soper. LaPierre is vice president of human resources for Mohegan Sun, and Joseph Soper is the casino’s director of sports and entertainment. Regan is the sister of Councilor Kathy Regan-Pyne, while Harris, who serves on the Preston Redevelopment Agency, is an uncle of Councilor Sarah Harris; his brother, Roland, is a former council chairman.

Ihloff serves as the tribe’s firekeeper, a ceremonial position.

In addition to Regan-Pyne and Sarah Harris, the council incumbents not up for election are James Gessner Jr., the interim chairman; and William Quidgeon Jr.

The council governs the 2,100-member tribe and serves as the management board of Mohegan Gaming & Entertainment, which operates the tribe’s gaming enterprises, including Mohegan Sun and Mohegan Sun Pocono in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. MGE also manages casinos in several states and in Niagara Falls, Ontario, and is developing an integrated casino resort in South Korea. It also plans to develop the former Norwich Hospital property in Preston.

The tribe also is partnering with the Mashantucket Pequot Tribe on a proposed East Windsor casino project.

Kevin Brown resigned from the council last month after what sources have said was an independent investigation into allegations that he violated the tribe’s code of ethics. He had stepped down as council chairman in February, a move the tribe attributed at the time to “personal reasons.”

b.hallenbeck@theday.com

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