The owners say they're losing money while the machines are in the city's possession.
By PEGGY SINKOVICH
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
WARREN -- A business and its nonprofit subsidiary have filed a lawsuit against the city of Warren and Police Chief John Mandopoulos alleging city officials have refused to return four electronic gambling machines.
Atty. John F. McCaffrey of Cleveland filed the lawsuit Monday in Trumbull County Common Pleas Court on behalf of Collins Entertainment Corp. of Greenville, S.C., and Charity Consultants Inc., of Columbus.
Charity Consultants is a subsidiary of Collins Entertainment, the suit states.
No hearing date has been set.
Mandopoulos is out of town and could not be reached to comment.
Leased machines: According to the lawsuit, on Oct. 19, 1999, Charity Consultants entered into a lease agreement with Toni McConnell, owner of Lucky One Instant Bingo, North Road, Warren. The lease agreement states that McConnell, of Warren, would operate the equipment, four Treasure Quest machines, in a lawful manner, the suit states.
The Treasure Quest machine is an electronic/video version of a paper pull-tab instant bingo ticket, the suit states. The suit explains that the pull-tab instant bingo ticket is a small two-ply paper card that bears symbols and patterns similar to tic-tac-toe that appear when a player peels off the pull-tab's top layer. The pattern of the symbols determines whether the player wins a prize, the suit states.
Police said money taken in by the Treasure Quest machines was not going to charity.
Sentenced: McConnell was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of operating a gambling house in November 2000, city police said. On Nov. 27, 2000, he pleaded no contest to the charge, was fined $500, given a six-month suspended jail sentence and ordered to serve a one-year probation, municipal court records state.
Judge Thomas Gysegem also ordered that the four Treasure Quest machines be confiscated.
According to the suit, each machine has a value "in excess of $5,000."
With the inability to lease out these machines, Charity Consultants continues to experience a loss of income in excess of $400 per month, the suit states.