BERWICK, Maine — Afterwards bristles months of investigation, the Maine Attorney General’s appointment disqualified in favor of Joe Chambers, advertence the selectman didn’t accept cabal advice acclimated in his wife’s behest and acquirement of 9 Roer St. for $20,000.
“Mr. Chambers, as a affiliate of the Lath of Selectpersons, was in control of no added advice apropos the amount than that advice to which any affiliate of the accessible or absorbed abeyant applicant would accept been entitled,” wrote Maine Attorney Accepted William Schneider in his accommodation letter to York County District Attorney Katherine Slattery.
The letter, forth with absolving Chambers, brash the lath on approaching actions, including one pertaining to Boondocks Clerk Judi Buckman.
The letter states Buckman notarized the borough abdicate affirmation accomplishment for the acreage at 9 Roer St. on June 7 for the signatures of James G. Ramsey, Robert Crichton and Marcia E. Elton. The analysis found, according to the letter, the accomplishment was not yet able or accessible until June 21 or after, acceptation that Buckman did not attestant the three signatures on the accomplishment on the day she notarized the document.
According to the AG’s letter, “this credible activity by Ms. Buchman violates acutely accustomed rules and regulations affecting Notaries Public.”
Copies of the letter were beatific to accompaniment Sen. Ron Collins, accompaniment Rep. Beth O’Connor, Police Chief Tim Towne, Boondocks Manager Keith Trefethen, the Berwick Lath of Selectmen, Deputy Secretary of Accompaniment Julie Flynn and above selectman Thomas Lavigne.
According to the letter, a complaint was filed with the Berwick Police Department in aboriginal July by Lavigne. The complaint declared Chambers submitted a bid in his wife Laurie’s name for the acreage on 9 Roer St. application “inside information.”
This use of advice would accept been in abuse of Title 17-A M.R.S. 609 — Misuse of Information, the complaint alleged. The property, according to the letter, was adjourned at $229,300. The $20,000 bid by Laurie was accustomed by the lath at its June 7 affair in a 3-1 vote.
Although Chambers knew no added bids were accustomed on the June 2 borderline for the bid process, the analysis assured there’s no affirmation this advice would not accept been accessible to added abeyant bidders.
However, the letter does accept “as a accepted matter,” a abeyant applicant actuality acquainted no bids had been submitted could abode them in a added favorable position to abide their own bid. The letter additionally reads, “it does not chase that ability abandoned renders the closing acquiescence unlawful.”
The letter additionally gives some recommendations to the lath on added approaching accomplishments to consider. First, the letter recommended the boondocks argue with its acknowledged admonition about whether a accompaniment law was abided by. This law states the town’s albatross to acquaint at atomic alert during a 7-day period. The auction of the tax-acquired acreage was advertised in Foster’s Daily Democrat on May 7, May 11 and May 21.
Second, the letter recommended the boondocks should stop the convenance of advice to abeyant bidders whether there accept or accept not been bids placed on an account of allotment of property, “given the favorable position such advice affords a abeyant bidder,” and the “appearance of favorable analysis should be avoided.”
Third, the letter additionally recommended the lath analysis the acquirement of 9 Roer St. by Laurie Chambers in advertence to whether it is in band with their own Cipher of Ethics policy. A allocation of the code, as referenced in the letter, reads, “Purchase and sales of absolute acreage which ability be admired as belief for quick accumulation care to be avoided.” But again, the letter stresses, “there is no acceptable affirmation that the transaction at affair was able or aided by ‘inside information.'”
For Selectman Chambers the accommodation came as no surprise. He kept his comments abrupt saying, “The certificate speaks for itself.”
For Lavigne, the certificate seemed contradictory. He anticipation it was “lunacy” to apprehend selectmen to “police themselves” back they accept to breach their own ordinances in the anatomy of their own Cipher of Ethics.
Calls and emails to Brian MacMasters, one of the advance board on the case, went changing by columnist time.
According to Brenda Kielty with the Maine Attorney General’s office, the appointment had no comment.
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