Maine AG ends review of emails to Portland councilors

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PORTLAND — No wrongdoing was found in a state review of emails sent to city councilors by providers of short-term housing rentals.

“We have reviewed the emails, and we have concluded that there is no basis for a criminal investigation at this time,” Maine Attorney General’s Office spokesman Timothy Feeley said Feb. 1.

Mayor Ethan Strimling had requested the review of emails sent largely by Ken Thomas of Share Portland, a group of property owners who rent homes, apartments or rooms for short stays through websites such as Airbnb.

On Jan. 30, Strimling said he called Attorney General Janet Mills because an Oct. 31, 2016, email to Councilor Spencer Thibodeau from Thomas said the group was ready to spend at least $10,000 to help fund city services.

Thibodeau was a member of the City Council Housing Committee at the time. He did not respond to the email, and city Corporation Counsel Danielle West-Chuhta told Strimling she did not see any violations of state law.

Strimling agreed it was not a question of any misconduct by Thibodeau, but decided to ask for a review by Mills’ office.