ATLANTIC CITY — Despite his claims that he racked up millions of dollars in gambling losses, the accused killer of a casino supervisor actually won $1,100 this year playing roulette at Trump Taj Mahal Casino Resort, a Trump executive said.
Gambling records dating to 1995 also show that Mark E. Magee lost $6,435 at the Taj Mahal’s gaming tables in the past 14 years, according to Mark Juliano, chief executive officer of Trump Entertainment Resorts Inc.
Juliano said the casino’s records suggest that Magee lied when he told police investigators that he was a compulsive gambler who has lost millions over the years. Magee also claimed that casino had cheated him by rigging the games.
“He’s lost $6,435, so his math is a little off,” Juliano said mockingly in an interview Saturday.
Calling Magee’s cheating allegations “ludicrous,” Juliano said New Jersey’s tightly regulated casino industry and the Taj Mahal’s own financial controls make it virtually impossible to fix games.
“I think it’s important to refute the idea that anything could happen because it’s impossible because of the controls we have in place,” Juliano said.
Magee, 57, of Norristown, Pa., is accused of gunning down Taj Mahal shift manager Raymond Kot near the casino floor on Wednesday. He has been charged with murder and weapons offenses and is being held in the Atlantic County Jail on $1 million cash bail.
Police investigators in Norristown said Magee claimed that, in the past three or four years, he would always be winning at the roulette table until a casino manager he knew as “Ray” — apparently referring to Kot — would arrive. Magee said he believed Ray would then make a call to someone to rig the game, and the losses would start.
“His intent was to kill someone from upper management from the casino because they were responsible for him losing his money,” Norristown Detective Raymond E. Emrich wrote in a police affidavit.
Angrily disputing Magee’s claims, Juliano said Kot was impeccably honest and a consummate professional in the way he supervised casino table games.
“Ray was a professional, and Ray managed those games exactly like they were supposed to be managed,” Juliano said. “The best way to describe Ray was that he was a pro. He was a real professional.”
Magee also complained he was victimized by casinos in a letter he sent to Philadelphia television station WPVI-TV Channel 6. According to the station, the letter contended Atlantic City’s casinos had been cheating Magee for 20 years, but it did not contain any threats or mention Kot.
Juliano said Magee made similar allegations of cheating in a brief note found in his pocket when he was arrested by Atlantic City police shortly after the shooting. In his police affidavit in Norristown, Emrich wrote that Magee contemplated suicide, “but figured no one would hear his story or care if he just killed himself.”
Neighbors and friends of Magee interviewed by The Press of Atlantic City said they could not believe he was capable of murder. They described him as good-natured, honest and compassionate.
“He’s a good man. A good man and a great person. I am very sad,” said Ana Colon, a tenant in Norristown’s Hunters Run apartment complex, where Magee lived and formerly worked as property manager.
But Juliano characterized Magee as a cold-blooded killer.
“He’s a murderer and a coward,” Juliano said. “I’m only sorry that he didn’t commit suicide before he killed Ray. The fact that he is being portrayed as a kind and gentle man is kind of perplexing.”
Kot’s violent death has stunned his co-workers. Joe Esposito, a shift and table games manager at the Taj Mahal, described Kot as a caring boss who was deeply loved and respected in the casino industry for 30 years.
“He was selfless,” Esposito said. “He put everybody else before himself. He put everybody else’s needs before his needs. He was so loved. We loved Ray. We looked up to Ray.”
Kot, 57, lived in Egg Harbor Township and his survived by his wife, Nancy, and a son, Drew. His viewing is scheduled 2-8 p.m. Tuesday at the Adrian Phillips Ballroom at Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City’s historic concert and sports arena. Juliano said the viewing will be held in the cavernous building to accommodate the large number of mourners expected to attend.
“The hall is part of Atlantic City’s history and is a fitting place for Ray to be remembered,” Juliano said. “It’s right in the center of a town that he really loved.”