Plum TV's Jerry Powers Settles More Than $2.2 Million in Gambling Debts
|Jerry Powers (right) with fashion designer Calvin Klein (center) and Jason Binn|
Old habits die hard, it seems. Between 1977 and 1984, Ocean Drive founder and current Plum TV exec Jerry Powers was sued 13 times for money owed.
Now Powers is in hot water once again for writing bad checks. This time, however, the culprit isn't drugs but another vice: blackjack tables.
Powers, a New Jersey native who started out in Miami Beach in the late '60s by publishing the controversial Daily Planet and Miami Free Press, sold Ocean Drive for $33 million in 2007 and is now leading Plum's expansion into films and magazines.
According to the Associated Press, however, his old habits of compulsive behavior and writing bad checks have caught up with him.
The AP reports Powers has been hounded for months by lawsuits from three casinos claiming he owes them huge gambling debts. On Wednesday, he settled with the Mohegan Sun Casino in Connecticut over an unpaid $1.2 million line of credit he had allegedly blown through playing blackjack.
Powers also racked up a $1 million tab at Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City and an unknown bill at the Bellagio in Las Vegas.
"It was a chapter. It was closed. Everybody's paid, and I'm really happy about it," the 65-year-old told the AP.
Like nearly 30 years ago, however, Powers could face legal problems even after paying the three casinos:
In the Connecticut and Atlantic City cases, both casinos accused Powers of signing agreements for lines of credit and later writing checks to the casinos that bounced. In the Mohegan Sun case, casino officials accused Powers of stopping payment on a $465,000 check, while other checks were returned because the accounts were closed.
Trump Taj Mahal lawyers alleged in their lawsuit that Powers wrote four checks totaling just over $1 million to the casino to repay the line of credit there. Those checks also bounced, and the lawsuit claims Powers knew there wasn't enough money in his accounts to cover the payments.
Powers had fought the Mohegan Sun lawsuit, arguing that the credit line was an illegal gambling contract and that state courts had no jurisdiction over a gambling dispute on the reservation of the sovereign Mohegan Tribe, which runs the casino.
Wednesday's settlement means Powers is no longer at risk of losing his media empire to the Mohegan Sun. But it doesn't rule out criminal charges.
In other words, don't expect those Plum TV Art Basel reruns to end anytime soon.