Member of state economic forecasting panel to resign following domestic violence arrest

WILTON — Lawrence E. Dwight Jr., who serves on Maine's Consensus Economic Forecasting Commission, is resigning his post following his arrest Saturday on a charge of domestic assault. 

submitted photo

Lawrence E. Dwight Jr.

Dwight, 54, better known as J Dwight, a political activist and investment adviser, was arrested at his Wilton home after an incident involving his wife.

Sgt. Richard Billian said Wilton police were called to Dwight's residence on Orchard Drive after receiving complaints from neighbors of fighting and arguing.

According to Billian, responding officers said Dwight was intoxicated. They arrested him on a charge of domestic assault. Billian said there were no physical marks on Dwight's wife, but officers determined there was probable cause for the arrest.

Dwight was taken to Franklin County Jail and released Sunday on $250 bail.

Dwight said Tuesday the incident was a "complete mistake" and that he expected to be "completely exonerated."

"As far as I know, this will all be resolved and things will be worked out," he said.

Nonetheless, Gov. Paul LePage moved quickly Tuesday to call for Dwight's resignation after the incident was publicized.

"I expect Mr. Dwight will voluntarily step down from his position while the legal issues regarding his recent arrest are pending," LePage wrote in a statement. "Domestic violence is a serious crime with far-reaching consequences. I don’t want these allegations to interfere in any way with the important work of the Consensus Economic Forecasting Committee."

Reached Tuesday afternoon, Dwight said he planned to honor the governor's request.

According to Billian, Wilton officers responded to a similar complaint at the Dwight residence in 2010. However, officers determined there wasn't enough probable cause to warrant an arrest at that time, Billian said.

Dwight said he didn't recall the 2010 incident. He described Saturday's altercation as a "family argument" and indicated that police overreacted.

Dwight declined to elaborate before speaking to a lawyer.

Kevin Joyce, Dwight's attorney, said police arrived "hours after the argument" and he was confident his client would avoid a conviction.

A records check showed that Dwight has no criminal history in Maine.

The Consensus Economic Forecasting Commission analyzes economic trends and prepares economic forecasts for the governor, the Revenue Forecasting Committee, the Legislative Council and the Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee.

Dwight was selected to serve on the commission in May. According to news reports, he was selected by its four other members, two of which are appointed by the governor. The other two are appointed by the speaker of the House of Representatives and the Senate president.

The commission recently underwent a significant overhaul and includes the chief economist from the Maine Heritage Policy Center, a conservative advocacy group.

Dwight serves on the policy center's board of advisers and his family has been a consistent contributor to the Maine Republican Party.

Dwight has contributed $1,200 to the Maine GOP this year. He is also president of the firm Dwight Investment Counseling, which gave $2,600 to LePage during his 2010 campaign.

Dwight has been a monthly columnist for the Sun Journal since 2008.

During his July 9 weekly radio address, LePage vowed to take on domestic violence during his term.

"Domestic violence is a problem in our state and it’s this type of abuse that is ripping apart families, friends and entire communities," he said. "We can no longer stay silent. We must speak out, and as governor I pledge to do just that."

smistler@sunjournal.com

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Comments

PAUL MATTSON's picture

THIS IS WHAT J. DWIGHT'S WIFE HAD TO SAY~

Ah-hem...his wife happens to be me. I have been reading all of the articles and commentary, and would like to add my two cents. It has been four full days, and until a little over an hour ago, no one has been interested in my perspective.

I gave an exclusive to a contributing member of AMG, and look forward to his treatment of the facts.

For those of you who have been concerned about whether or not I understand the 'far reaching' consequences of domestic violence, I can tell you that without any doubt, I do.

I will also say emphatically, that a reckless, politically motivated media dishes out its own version of abuse, and has no regard for the 'far-reaching' effect this has on my step children, not to mention me. My step kids have their futures waiting for them, along with this story that will be lurking on the internet for 'ever'...when they apply for jobs, when friends to google searches...

This was an innocent, honest mistake. If you choose to give J the benefit of the doubt on a simple human being level, that would be a good thing. He deserves it.

Naran Row-Spaulding's picture

Adrienne Dwight Says Charges are Unfounded

J. Dwight's wife, Adrienne, has posted a full accounting of the incident on As Maine Goes.

http://www.asmainegoes.com/content/political-advisor-j-dwight-charged-do...

You can read the details at the link above. Adrienne Dwight's comments are on page one of the thread, and the timeline and details of the full incident are on page two.

Sadie Roberts's picture

if lepage said he would take

if lepage said he would take on domestic violence on his watch then start it now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ANTHONY NAZAR's picture

I know J

J and I agree on very little politically, probably nothing at all except that democracy is a great but messy form of government.

But- I take no pleasure in reading this. This is a terrible personal tragedy for both J and his wife. It goes well beyond a loss of influence in Augusta and strikes at the heart of their identity.

PAUL MATTSON's picture

Wow~ the lynch mob without

Wow~ the lynch mob without evidence convicts before hearing or trial. Despicable and yes, there is no excuse for domestic violence

Bob Deschenes's picture

Lawrence E Dwight JR

Let's see now, we have a kiss my ass governor, An accountant who doesn't think that the federal government running out of funds will affect Maine and and Econimic Forecasting commission member who is being charged with domestic assault apparently he drinks too much also.

What lesders, it brings tear to my eyes.

Tony Morin's picture

He doesn't recall

[This comment has been removed by the administrator]

Tony Morin's picture

Hmmm?

Which one? Baseless personal attack? Seems a bit sensitive. I thought there was enough rationale for the comment.

Michael Schaedler's picture

It is good to see the Wilton

It is good to see the Wilton Police be so responsive. That shows a lot of growth and improvement with them.

Doreen Sheive's picture

He certainly knows how to pick them

doesn't he?

Michael Schaedler's picture

There are no excuses for

There are no excuses for domestic violence. period.

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