Watch CBS News

Ex-Mayor Apologizes For Spending $2M In Charity Funds On Video Poker

SAN DIEGO ( — A former San Diego mayor and widow of a fast food mogul has pleaded not guilty for spending over $2 million from her late husband's charitable foundation on her gambling addiction.

KNX 1070's Maureen O'Connor issued a tearful apology after she admitted ultimately gambling away over $2 billion over the span of a decade while playing video poker.

Ex-San Diego mayor issues tearful apology for gambling addiction

O'Connor made the acknowledgement Thursday in an agreement with the government to defer prosecution for two years while she attempts to repay the debt, the Associated Press reported.

"I always intended to pay it back, and I still intend to pay it back," O'Connor said.

O'Connor spent the money gambling at local casinos, Las Vegas and Atlantic City, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Phil Halpern.

She said her addiction came after the deaths of her husband, Robert O. Peterson, founder of the Jack-In-The-Box restaurant chain, and other loved ones.

"It was at a time in my life where I lost my husband, I lost three of my siblings, I lost two of my best friends," said O'Connor.

O'Connor was the Democratic leader of California's second-largest city from 1986 to 1992. The two-term mayor was elected San Diego's first female leader after eight years on the City Council.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.