- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) - State casino regulators have fined the Golden Nugget Atlantic City $30,000 and suspended its general manager for three days over the firing of its surveillance director.

The penalties were imposed under a settlement reached Sept. 22 between the state Division of Gaming Enforcement and the casino and were made public Thursday.

Deputy Attorney General Robert Moncrief Jr. wrote that Tom Pohlman in April wrongly terminated the employee, who by the sensate nature of the position could only have been fired by an independent audit committee. He found that Pohlman told the audit committee he was firing the employee, had the worker’s emails directed to him instead and directed all surveillance supervisors to report directly to him.

The state said in its filings that even before firing the surveillance director, whose identity was not released, Pohlman would routinely “attempt to guide the policy, purpose and responsibility of the department.”

The Golden Nugget said Pohlman has already served the suspension and has hired a new surveillance director. The department oversees the eye-in-the-sky cameras that keep close watch on card and table games, slots and other activity on the casino floor to watch for cheating, theft or other crimes.

Steve Scheinthal, general counsel for Landry’s Inc., the casino’s parent company, said the company disagrees with the finding by the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement but agreed to the penalty to avoid costly legal action.

“We think we didn’t do anything wrong,” he said. “The DGE didn’t see it that way. Rather than fight with the DGE, we agreed to a settlement. Tom is a very good general manager, and everything is fine.”

Neither the casino nor the state would say why the former surveillance director was fired. Scheinthal would only say that the action was taken for good cause.

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Wayne Parry can be reached at http://twitter.com/WayneParryAC

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