MDOT director arrested at Biloxi casino early Fri.

JACKSON — Butch Brown, executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation, was arrested at a Biloxi casino early Friday and charged a misdemeanor of public intoxication, authorities said.

Harrison County Sheriff Melvin Brisolara said Brown was released from jail on $480 bond.

Brown told The Associated Press he was playing a slot machine at the Beau Rivage casino when a security guard told him he had dozed off. He said he wasn’t certain of the time but he thought it was about 3 a.m.

“I was playing, of all things, a penny slot machine,” Brown said with a chuckle during a telephone interview. “I said, ‘Let me get my money and go up to my room.’ He said, ‘You have to leave the property.’ That’s the misunderstanding.”

Biloxi Police Department Sgt. John Campbell said officers responded to a call from Beau Rivage at 5:43 a.m. Friday, and the casino security guard had already placed Brown under a citizens’ arrest for disorderly conduct. Campbell said Biloxi police charged Brown with public intoxication and took him to the Harrison County jail.

Brown said he was on the coast to make a speech to the Mississippi Economic Development Council, and the group was paying his hotel bill. Brown lives in Natchez and works in Jackson. He said he had traveled to Biloxi in his state vehicle.

Brown, 67, said he’d had wine with dinner and “a couple of whatever they serve” as drinks in the casino. He said the incident was “embarrassing.”

Brown said reporters could ask the Beau Rivage about the incident.

Beau Rivage spokeswoman Mary Cracchiolo-Spain said the casino has a company policy of not discussing customers. She said a “misunderstanding” occurred that resulted in the police being called.

“The issue has been resolved and we consider it case closed,” she said.

The Associated Press