Scarborough racino PAC pays penalty, will not appeal Ethics Commission ruling
SCARBOROUGH — A political action committee formed last year to support a failed attempt to bring a racino to Scarborough has decided not to appeal a penalty levied by the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices.
The commission in late March fined the Scarborough Village Partnership PAC, and specifically its treasurer, Kathryn Rolston, $12,500 for late registration and late filing of campaign finance reports.
In an April 3 e-mail to Town Clerk Tody Justice, Rolston said she was preparing her appeal of the commission's decision and needed copies of all pertinent correspondence from August through October 2008 between the town or councilors and anyone from the Ethics Commission, or from anti-racino PACs Save Our Scarborough and CasinosNo.
But on Monday, May 18, Rolston paid the $12,500 penalty in full with a check from her personal checking account, according to commission Director Jonathan Wayne.
"Had the penalty not been paid, there is a procedure as to how to treat unpaid penalties and the staff was prepared to ask the commission whether to refer it to the attorney general's office for collection," Wayne said Tuesday.
When Rolston requested correspondence from the clerk, Justice informed her there would be a charge for time the office would have to spend researching her request and for copying. Once the documents were ready, Rolston paid the $45 charge with a personal check, but asked Justice to send the documents to attorney Ed MacColl.
Previously, during the Ethics Commission hearing that resulted in the fine against the PAC, MacColl and Rolston both denied that MacColl was Scarborough Village Partnership's attorney.
Rolston also closed out the PAC's registration at Scarborough Town Hall, Justice said. With an ending balance of about $251, the PAC was supplied with a list of permitted ways to use the money, which would include charitable donations, Justice said.
Scarborough Village Partnership was formed last year to persuade voters to approve slot machines as part of a $200 million mixed-use development proposed for land owned by Scarborough Downs owner Sharon Terry. The PAC received all of its money from casino giant Penn National Gaming.
Because the partnership filed PAC documents late, anti-racino Save Our Scarborough and CasinosNo claimed residents were illegally kept from knowing Penn National was backing the push for a racino.
During the campaign to gather support for a referendum to allow slot machines, developer and spokesman Gene Beaudoin, known locally for the Cabela's development, made promises of a town center and at least $8 million in annual revenues that could go for schools, a public safety building and a community center. The November referendum lost by 239 votes.
At the Ethics Commission hearing in March, CasinosNo was also found in violation of the law for late disclosure of its support for Save Our Scarborough, but commissioners chose not to impose a penalty.
Rolston did not respond to phone or e-mail messages seeking comment. MacColl responded via e-mail, but refused to comment.
Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or firstname.lastname@example.org.