On Thursday, NBC reported that attorneys for former San Diego Mayor Maureen O’Connor and federal prosecutors cut a deal that allows her to avoid jail time if she pays back the $2 million she allegedly stole in 2008 from the foundation she and her late husband founded.
The story gained notoriety because Ms. O’Connor parlayed the small fortune she inherited (estimated at around $50 million) when her husband, Jack in the Box founder Robert O. Peterson, died in 1994, into $1 billion. Beginning in 2000, Ms. O’Connor began to gamble in online poker games. Her attorney claimed that she made $1 billion over the next several years. But in 2008, her luck turned bad, and over the next two years she lost it all and more.
On Thursday, Ms. O’Connor pled not guilty to charges of money laundering and wire fraud, and prosecutors gave her two years to try to pay back the money she allegedly stole. Her attorney claimed that her gambling addiction was caused by a brain tumor that has since been surgically removed. She allegedly took the $2 million in 2008 from the foundation she and her late husband founded in order to cover her mounting gambling debts. Despite those funds, her attorney claims she is now $13 million in debt.
Thursday evening on NBC’s “Nightly News,” neither anchor Lester Holt nor correspondent Mike Taibbi mentioned Ms. O’Connor’s party affiliation.