Former Nun Ordered to Pay Nearly $1 Million Over Failed Casino Project

Published on Tuesday 2nd June 2015, 10:22 am
Posted in: Casino Crime


Casino Crime

A judge has ruled that a former nun who was developing a casino in Mississippi must repay $970,123 after using money from investors to fund a lavish lifestyle for herself.  Sandra Manno had been working on CanCan Casino in D’Iberville, but the project never got off the ground and Judge Travis Laster has now written in court documents that she loved ‘living large’ and should pay for her excessive spending.


The Delaware Chancery Court judge’s 60-page report mentions Manno’s background as a Jesuit nun and, later, the former mayor of Marlton in New Jersey, where she helped to introduce legalised gambling to Atlantic City. After failed projects to build casinos in Oklahoma and East Biloxi, Manno turned her focus to D’Iberville.

However, Manno’s venture went nowhere and the main investors filed a lawsuit after they suspected that her spending had got out of control. She was later dismissed and the project has been relaunched as the Scarlet Pearl Casino, a $290 million undertaking that is set to open before the end of the year.  

Judge Laster believes Manno breached her duty of loyalty to CanCan, writing in court documents which have been reported by the Sun Herald: “Sandra Manno has excelled at coming up with concepts for new casinos. She also has a talent for convincing early-stage investors to back her ideas. But she has failed at moving her ventures beyond the concept stage. In addition to lacking the requisite management skills, Manno loves living large. It may be that some degree of flash and pizzazz is necessary to succeed in the casino business, but Manno's ventures have misallocated their seed capital to expensive meals, luxury hotels, first-class travel and premature marketing activities."

Manno’s expenses were listed in court documents, and include $142,000 spent on meals, $60,449 for flights with no business purpose and $18,180 for limousines to transport people to and from the airport. The report also reveals that Manno hired a friend and part-time hairdresser, Lisa Marie Ponzio, to write a film script about her life story and pitch a reality show.




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