Conservative think tank questions Maine State Housing expenditures

The Maine Heritage Policy Center on Tuesday released a list of vendors its says Maine State Housing Authority has paid over the past 13 years.

Included in that 536-page list: a massage therapist, three martial arts centers, an Augusta dance club, the Theater at Monmouth, various social and political organizations and 240 hotels, inns and resorts — enough to put up employees 1 1/2 times every month since 1998.

The conservative think tank calls those expenditures and others "disturbing."

"Taxpayer dollars should go toward fulfilling the mission, and for Maine State Housing that is providing low-cost, affordable housing," said Sam Adolphsen, director of the Center for Open Government for the Maine Heritage Policy Center. "So if they're giving money to groups that aren't directly interested in that — for instance, a global warming group out of the Netherlands — we don't see that has any connection to Maine Housing's mission. That sets off some warning bells."

Maine State Housing Authority spokeswoman Deborah Turcotte defended the expenditures and said any implication of wrongdoing was the center's interpretation of the vendor list.

"We take our job seriously," Turcotte said. "It requires training. It requires education and workshops that need to be attended to so that we can fulfill our mission. We take our mission very seriously, and we are going to continue providing our mission every day."

The Maine State Housing Authority is a quasi-governmental agency that gets its funding from bonds, mortgage interest, the federal government and, to a lesser extent, state government, among others. It has 140 employees and serves 90,000 clients per year.

It was unclear how much money the Maine State Housing Authority spent on each vendor, when it spent that money or why. The information it supplied to the Maine Heritage Policy Center — which recently obtained the list as part of a Freedom of Access Act request it made in June — contained only the names and addresses of vendors. Turcotte said the housing authority was working to get additional information, but it could not provide everything the center wanted.

"They wanted to have the name of the vendor, the date, the transaction, the amount, purpose, all of that. Our system wasn't set up that way," Turcotte said.

The policy center paid the housing authority $800 for compiling the list, which includes more than 6,000 vendors. Some names and addresses were deleted by the housing authority because, Turcotte said, they contained confidential information, such as a Social Security number or bank account number. 

In a story posted on the policy center's website TheMaineWire.com, Adolphsen acknowledged the list had thousands of vendors that were in keeping with the Maine Housing Authority's mission, including landlords and contractors.

But he was concerned about the hundreds of others that seemed out of place. Among them:

* About 240 hotels, inns and resorts, including Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, a Disney property in Florida and the Wyndham Miami Beach Resort. 

* Recreational activities, including the Theater at Monmouth, Funtown/Splashtown in Saco, Riverback Dance Club in Augusta, United Martial Arts Academies in Augusta and Healing Hands Therapeutic Massage in Belgrade.

* Social, political, and lobbying organizations, including the Maine Center for Economic Policy and Moose Ridge Associates in Augusta, which the policy center says is owned by the former partner of Maine State Housing Authority Director Dale McCormick.

* Out-of-state organizations, including the New Iowans Program in Iowa.

Turcotte could immediately explain the expenses behind some of those vendors Tuesday, but not others.

She said the hotel rooms were required because employees attend conferences, workshops and training, including annual training in Miami held by the company that provides Maine State Housing's specialized computer system. 

Turcotte could not explain the Theater at Monmouth or the United Martial Arts Academies because those expenditures, she said, occurred in 1998 and 2002, respectively, and the housing authority no longer had the invoices.

She said the housing authority bought Funtown/Spashtown tickets at the corporate rate and sold them to employees. She said the housing authority had rented a hall from the Riverback Dance Club for an all-staff presentation. Healing Hands was hired to provide 10-minute neck massages to employees during a similar all-staff day, she said.

Turcotte said the housing authority gave the Maine Economic Policy Center $500 for "miscellaneous conferences and dues." She said the housing authority's human resources department — not McCormick — brought in Moose Ridge Associates. Although the company's website bills it as "one of the foremost advocacy and lobbying firms in Augusta," Turcotte said owner Betsy Sweet was brought in to work with employees on interpersonal and relationship skills.

Turcotte said the housing authority paid The New Iowans Program $183 in 2002 for "admin education and training." Although the policy center speculated the expenditure had something to do with McCormick's ties to Iowa, Turcotte said the expense occurred two years before McCormick was tapped to lead the housing authority.

Turcotte pointed out the housing authority has a superb credit rating and is audited eight times a year by various groups, including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Treasury and an outside third party that looks at the books twice a year.

Despite those audits, the Maine State Housing Authority has come under fire in recent months, most notably for shoddy housing and cost overruns on housing projects. Last fall, Republicans on the Legislature's Government Oversight Committee initiated an investigation into the organization.

State Treasurer Bruce Poliquin, a Maine State Housing Authority board member and a Republican who has proven fiercely loyal to Republican Gov. Paul LePage, has been particularly vocal about problems at the housing authority. Some say Poliquin's questions and the Maine Heritage Policy Center's report Tuesday are politically motivated.

McCormick is a former Democratic legislator who was reappointed to MaineHousing by Democratic Gov. John Baldacci early in 2010.

Although LePage has not hesitated to show Baldacci's appointees the door, his power to expel McCormick is statutorily limited. To be removed, she must commit fraud, steal or demonstrate fiscal malfeasance.

The Maine Heritage Policy Center has been deeply involved in the LePage administration.

State Sen. Margaret Craven, D-Lewiston, a member of the Government Oversight Committee, said Tuesday that she believes McCormick is being targeted.

"In my personal opinion, the governor, as well as the treasurer, wants to undermine Dale McCormick because she's a woman, as well as a Democrat," she said. "I believe they're going to try to smear her in any way they can, whether they can prove it or not."

LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett bristled at Craven's assertion that his administration is targeting McCormick.

"For Sen. Craven to accuse the governor of undermining McCormick because she is a woman and a Democrat is laughable," Bennett said in an email. "The governor has never expressed malcontent toward Dale McCormick. Rather, the governor and his staff have worked with her in recent weeks, most recently to develop a LIHEAP contingency plan, and the governor will continue to work with the agency."

She said the Maine Heritage Policy Center's report "exemplifies the need for oversight" of the quasi-state agency.

"Ultimately, the governor believes if taxpayer dollars are being used, some sort of oversight is warranted," Bennett said. "The governor is supportive of creating improved accountability within MSHA and the administration will work toward a resolve to address this issue."

ltice@sunjournal.com

Some of the Maine State Housing Authority vendors The Maine Heritage Policy Center has questioned:

* Whitehall Inn – Camden, Maine

 * Inn at Mill Falls – Meredith, N.H.

* Wyndham Miami Beach Resort – Miami Beach, Fla.

* Caribe Royal – Orlando, Fla.

* Opryland Hotel Convention Center – Nashville, Tenn.

* Chelsey Savoy (Hotel) – New York, N.Y.

* Ritz-Carlton Pentagon City Hotel – Arlington, Va.

* Flamingo Hilton – Las Vegas, Nev.

* Caesars Palace – Las Vegas, Nev.

* Maine Center for Economic Policy

* Pushard's Okinawan Karate

* United Martial Arts Academies

* Funtown/ Splashtown USA

* Augusta Taekwondo Center

* Riverback Dance Club

* New Hampshire Society of CPAs

* The Theatre at Monmouth – Monmouth

* Abracadabra Productions – Westbrook

* Climate Focus BV – The Netherlands

* Sierra Club Foundation – Portland

* Chiro-Works LLC, Chiropractic — Freeport

* Disney Destinations LLC – Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

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Comments

Doreen Sheive's picture

Maine Heritage Foundation

The purpose of the Maine Heritage Foundation is to discredit as many Democrats as it can. They don't care if they have all of the information before they publicize their conclusions. LePage wants the power to use the MSHA money. And, from his previous comments, we should be concerned because he doesn't care if he follows the law or not. The fact is that most state employees are required to have some training. And, those with specific expertise, are required to take even more training. The training is usually given out of state. As for McCormick's (in television interview) claim that they spend money on health and fitness for the staff, the State of Maine does the same thing. As an example, every year, the state sends a certain number of state employees to weight watchers. They pay all the costs and give the employees time off to attend meetings. This is done to reduce health insurance costs.

Doreen Sheive's picture

Maine Heritage Foundation

The purpose of the Maine Heritage Foundation is to discredit as many Democrats as it can. They don't care if they have all of the information before they publicize their conclusions. LePage wants the power to use the MSHA money. And, from his previous comments, we should be concerned because he doesn't care if he follows the law or not. The fact is that most state employees are required to have some training. And, those with specific expertise, are required to take even more training. The training is usually given out of state. As for McCormick's (in television interview) claim that they spend money on health and fitness for the staff, the State of Maine does the same thing. As an example, every year, the state sends a certain number of state employees to weight watchers. They pay all the costs and give the employees time off to attend meetings. This is done to reduce health insurance costs.

Gerald Weinand's picture

Many of the expenditures that

Many of the expenditures that MHPC are in fact justified, and many occurred before the current Director, Dale McCormick, took over in January 2005:

http://www.dirigoblue.com/2012/01/in-hit-piece-on-head-of-mainehousing-m...

Nathan McCarron's picture

Interesting observation

If they're only putting 6-8 vendors on a page... and there is 13 years worth of vendors.... doesn't 536 pages appear to be kind of a short list?

Between the Portland democratic machine using operatives to libel/slander Cutler and the Lepage/Poliquin follies of recent, many dangerous political precedents have been set during the last 18 months.

We, as Mainers, should be worried that "scorched earth tactics" are now becoming commonplace with elections, state government politics, and agency management. There's never really been anything like this in Maine politics that I can remember. Can you?

Vendors

Nathan: First, we must remove all from the list who got there prior to Ms. McCormick's tenure as director. Second, we must ask for and receive explanations for any that remain and appear questionable. On this second point I believe all is very transparent and above board.

Vendors

The entire piece by the Maine Heritage Policy Center was designed for a purpose; to place a very dark cloud over the head of Dale McCormick. Even the photographs they chose to publish were picked for their visual impact without explanation of circumstances. One small example is the use of massage therapists. These were hired to provide services to employees during an all employees day, a service which the employee had to purchase from Maine Housing. Money out, money in. Goodwill and good business and a definite morale booster unlike the shenanigans of Poilquin/LePage. Far too many are under the mistaken impression that this all somehow costs the Maine taxpayer. It does NOT. What is costing the taxpayer is the battle being waged by Poliquin and LePage to grab power they do not now have.

Gerald Weinand's picture

There is no question that the

There is no question that the MHPC is part of a coordinated attack on McCormick. You may find this of interest:

http://www.dirigoblue.com/2012/01/in-hit-piece-on-head-of-mainehousing-m...

Joe Morin's picture

Wow Guy

MSHA controls what? like 1.5 Billion dollars? Guess what Guy, I pay the federal government tax dollars too! Furthermore, who better to oversee the distribution of those funds here in Maine than Mainers? Would you suggest the folks from Idaho provide oversight in Maine? Fact is that I would be encouraged if all the states did the same. Then we could account for all the federal dollars allocated for housing assistance. Billions and billions of dollars that no one should keep an eye on Guy. Right? Well, except the ones spending it. Get real.

wow yourself

And do you therefore want a full accounting from your own bank? From any commercial lender? Please get a handle on what you are speaking about prior to speaking. You might start with the Maine Statutes that brought MSHA into being. From there you might want to research copies of past audits. Then, if you insist on there being black helicopters in the night sky, look both ways.
BTW, that 1.5 Billion--where is it coming from? Be specific if you can. My own bank controls I don't know how much. They are accountable as is MSHA.
I suspect that your problem lies in a very prejudicial assessment of "housing assistance". Would that you were so concerned with "defense" spending.
Joe, have a good day.

Jerk

Joe: You seem pretty adept at putting out verbiage. How about taking some in--with thought. In other words, please learn how to carefully read and then realize that name calling is the mark of the ignorant.

Joe Morin's picture

Guy

I guess it takes one to know one. I just prefer to be plain spoken about it. You on the other hand like to slide in the insults through ad hominem attacks cloaked as supporting facts and opinion. Further, lets review the very simple post that drew your ire.
"I think its important that all state agencies are accountable for their expenses. The only way to ensure this is to maintain oversight of said agencies. The turnpike authority fiasco has validated the legitimacy of these types of concerns and it is in everyone's interest that agencies can justify their expenses. I don't care if it's a Dem or Rep who uncovers misuse of funds. ((((((I'm not saying MSHA has mishandled state money but it is only prudent to have explain these expenses that raise eyebrows.)))) You could say, how could someone talk intelligently about expenses from '98 or '02? Then I would say, has it been that long since anyone asked??? These people are not beyond reproach. Quite the opposite, they are answerable to any tax paying resident of Maine."
Please learn how to carefully read this post and then realize that I never asserted that there was foul play. I simply stated a full explanation would be prudent. Thanks Guy for the fun but you can move and accost someone else for having an opinion. If you need to refer back to this convo. you can find under the OPINION tab.

Joe

I am happy to hear that you are not saying MSHA has mishandled state money without real supporting evidence. What I am saying, is, in my opinion, they have not. At this stage I do not look for or offer supporting evidence because none has been offered either way.
Refering to 98 or '02, it has NOT been that long. In fact, as you well know, MSHA undergoes audits from many state and federal entities several times every year and there has never been even a hint of trouble....until Poliquin and LePage (my opinion again) launched their campaign to unseat Ms. McCormick and take executive control of the organization.
The so called vendor's list that everyone is screaming about was posted before MSHA could supply pertinent explanatory data (note that most the list goes back to pre-McCormick era). That data should now be available, but I do not expect it to be published broadly since it takes the sensationalism away from the posted incomplete data.
Yes, the turnpike authority fiasco has validated the legitimacy of these types of concerns, but we would do well to wait for the facts before condemning anyone or anything. To date no facts have been uncovered to warrant more than an explanation--one that is being offered. Do you not agree that the yelling for McCormick's blood is, at the least, premature? At most I can see that McCormick's policies might be in conflict with the current administration's, but that does not rise to the level required for her to be removed. That is how our Legislature planned it and I believe they did well in their legislation.
By the way, I accept your sideways apology for name calling. Let us both beware that trap.
Now, I say, in all sincerity: Have a good day.

Joe Morin's picture

Agreed

That Guy, I can agree upon. I have never asked more Dale McCormick to be removed, relieved of duty or anything. Is the timing of this suspicious? possibly, yet I fear any governing by Lepage up until he is out of office will be questioned and villainized. Is Lepage after McCormick? Probably, as is the way when administrations come into power that are at idealogical odds with their predecessors. I know the value of MSHA because I was able to purchase a home in the past thanks to their programs. I want to ensure the funds allocated for the programs help the maximum amount of people available. So, no witch hunt by me or shooting first. Just an explanation. Have a nice weekend. Sincerely.

1 more

What bothers me most is not that LePage wants his own in that office, but that he wants HIS office to have control over the entire doings of MSHA. He now is having Bills drawn up to that end. This flies in the face of what our legislators intended and can only bode darkly for the future of MSHA.

 's picture

if party doesn't matter, why

if party doesn't matter, why no outrage over the Speaker stealing millions of MaineCare funds and nothing is being done?

Joe Morin's picture

quite a leap

So, I go from saying it should be looked into. To you saying that its a waste of time and the integrity of the folks at MSHA should not be questioned. To me saying that its a vested interest for me to know because MSHA derives it funds from a variety of areas including federal grants, state appropriated funds, loan interest etc. & now I am predisposed to not like MSHA because I think its for poor people and would prefer that money for defense spending? That's quite a leap. Its also assumptive, inaccurate and insulting. Guy, if there's nothing to hide then who cares? Because MSHA the best. That's right. I know this because you told me. Do you work for MSHA? Dale's uncle? Your whole reaction is kinda weird. Furthermore, don't say have a good day immediately after insulting someone for disagreeing with you. It makes you look like a condescending jerk.

Joe Morin's picture

Oversight

I think its important that all state agencies are accountable for their expenses. The only way to ensure this is to maintain oversight of said agencies. The turnpike authority fiasco has validated the legitimacy of these types of concerns and it is in everyone's interest that agencies can justify their expenses. I don't care if it's a Dem or Rep who uncovers misuse of funds. I'm not saying MSHA has mishandled state money but it is only prudent to have explain these expenses that raise eyebrows. You could say, how could someone talk intelligently about expenses from '98 or '02? Then I would say, has it been that long since anyone asked??? These people are not beyond reproach. Quite the opposite, they are answerable to any tax paying resident of Maine.

Accountability

Accountability is what remains when responsibility is removed from the picture. MSHA is perhaps one of the most responsible state agencies, quasi or otherwise, operating in this state. They more than fulfill their responsibility to the people of Maine, their overseers in the federal government and are now having to waste time and assets keeping the small minded yapping dogs from nipping at their heals. If our state executive and his administration would stop wasting so much time trying to shoehorn governor Lepage's personna, Mr. Poliquin, into Ms. McCormick's position, they might find time and resources to fix what is truly broken in this state.

Joe Morin's picture

Hmmm

Well Guy I'm not inclined to take your word for it or MSHA's. I prefer transparency to just believing Guy Bourrie because he really, really means it without any reinforcing evidence. The inmates have run the Maine Assylum for far too long and this State is broken and broke. We have uncovered wastefull and unethical spending at all levels of government. Sooo... I suppose conducting business as usual expecting our circumstances to improve would be foolhardy. I just received my W2's for 2012 and with revenues that I provided the state and federal government I am invested in the process whether I like it or not. I am a stakeholder in this society and its future. So don't tell me that it's a waste of time for my state government to explain to me how and why my tax dollars are spent.

waste

Whoa boy! I agree totally. It is NEVER "a waste of time for my state government to explain to me how and why my tax dollars are spent". But first, let's ascertain that our TAX dollars are being spent and if so, what on.
It seems that many believe that because MSHA is a quasi state entity that it must therefore be supported totally by us, the taxpayers of this state. I invite you and anyone to please take a close look at this assumption. MSHA is more like a bank
MSHA's business activities are funded primarily through the issuance of bonds. MSHA also administers various State and Federal housing and energy related programs which are financed by grant and program agreements with the Federal government and appropriations from the State legislature. These entities very closely audit all MSHA doings.
Those who would compare MSHA with the Maine turnpike authority cannot tell the difference between an apple and an orange.
As for me gathering reinforcing evidence; I do not feel the need. I have very closely followed this witch hunt (that is all it is) and please be assured that as soon as evidence of wrongdoing by MSHA is presented I will be demanding it be countered or succumbed to. So far, I see no evidence other than the noise of power grabbing politicians as they waste their time (my opinion) and our tax dollars trying to fix what ain't broke.

Bob Stone's picture

Circling the Wagons Much?

Look at the "vendors" on the list. Dale has been caught with her hand squarely in the public's pockets. You'll never agree, and will fight back like a cornered rat.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

Dale may have been caught

Dale may have been caught with her hand in the cookie jar or she may not have been. I believe it is a witch hunt to get another Lepage person into a position of authority. But for the latest...Mr. Poliquin needs to take care of his own skeletons in the closet before making accusations towards others.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Looks like the Poliquin thing

Looks like the Poliquin thing is nothing more than retaliation for the McCormick jam.

DONALD FERLAND's picture

First it is not a McCormick

First it is not a McCormick jam...if you look at the dates of the list of vendors it goes back to 1998 which is long before she took the job. How can a person be held accountable for something they were absolutely no part of. Mr. Poliquin is allegedly doing something that is against the rules and yet he doesn't seem to be held accountable to the same standards or investigation. This is a prime example of Governor LePage wanting his hands in the cookie jar and getting rid of anyone he cannot control. He can't do basic math and yet wants control of the MSHA. He can't tell the truth but yet he wants to control another agency. Let's put all who allegedly violate the rules, laws, and/or policies under the microscope and not just those that Governor LePage doesn't like. In all fairness, if there is a misappropriation of money from the MSHA it should be an independent auditor asking the questions and not a LePage "yes man"

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Playing politics

First of all, its the Maine Heritage Foundation. They have long ago lost any credibility with their so called witch hunts. How long before a guy with a wig and a crooked mustache comes into the picture? Secondly, no details about these expenditures. How much? What for? How many years ago? Who authorized? Don't look there! The more you muddy the water the more you can make the facts say whatever you want them to. Thirdly, last month the governor said on TV that he would forgo throwing grandma off Maine Care if the legislature gave him the authority to fire Ms. McCormick. Fourthly she is the last appointee of Gov Baldacci, the others have all been fired. And Mr. Poliquin is having issues over his condo development in Popham. Could it be he needs money for that development? This reeks of political witch hunt.

Poliquin's troubles

Yes, Mr. Poliquin is having issues over his condo development in Popham, an endeavor on his part that contradicts the Constitution of this state that prohibits the State treasurer for engaging in such endeavors while in office. Talk about someone being caught violating his/her trust.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Lions 1 Christians 1

Lions 1 Christians 1

Mike Lachance's picture

Is it a political witch hunt?

Is it a political witch hunt? Or a "so-called" political witch hunt?
Don't shoot the messenger, Claire.

As far as details, you ask "how much", "what for?"
One-penny is too much when this agency is spending money on ANYTHING at Funtown/Splashtown??
The facts are the facts. The dept spent money at those places. What do YOU make those facts say, Claire? Nothing?

You dont like MHPC, fine... but you cant take politics out of politics, and things have now turned toward fiscal accountability in Maine. Something that had been off the radar for 40 years.

Your "so-called" skepticism is questionable in as much as you seem to be ignoring the actual facts laid out in lieu of attacking the messenger.

Political with hunt? No. Cleaning up the fiscal mess and destroying the status quo? Yes.
Are politics involved? Of course. You can't take the politics out of politics, but you certainly can vote the irresponsible money wasting politicians out of politics. And thats what Mainers did a year ago.

Taking politics out of politics

This is precisely why our Legislature went to great lengths to remove MSHA, a quasi state agency (not a dept of government as you say), from the field of political football. The question under consideration should be, as you say,to vote the irresponsible money wasting politicians out of politics. We could do it sooner, but alas, Maine has no recall procedure for state government politicians.

CLAIRE GAMACHE's picture

Whose accountability

If fiscal accountability was the goal here it might actually be laudable but needing to get rid of all democratic appointees simply says to me that they want to spend according to their own biases without any accountability. They just want to clear the way so they can do the same thing. The proof is that the last budget analysis said that spending this year is actually ahead of last year. So much for cutting spending. Regardless of what the story is for spending money at Funtown, I don't think it is good for the State of Maine for each governor to throw out all the previous governor's appointees. First of all it will make it harder to get anyone to serve ( and all the governors have found it difficult to find anyone to serve as it is), and it means we are constantly having amateur hour at the State. Given what we have observed so far in this administration, from mural fiascos to voter fraud fiascos,to DHHS fiascos, to State Employee fiascos, I would think the problems with that would be obvious.

Mike Lachance's picture

Mural = not a fiasco. (except

Mural = not a fiasco. (except through the eyes of pro-union socialists)
Voter Fraud = not a fiasco (except through the eyes of those who want zero accountability for voters/ID)
DHHS = not a fiasco (except through the eyes of those who's base depend on welfare checks)
State Employee = not a fiasco (except through the eyes of State Employees who want to maintain out-of-this-world benefits and unrealistically high pay scales)

Contrary to what you want to believe this IS about fiscal responsibility.

Every Governor appoints those he prefers to positions through the state where he is granted the authority to do so. Baldacci did it, King did it, McKernan did it and yes, *gasp* even Paul LePage is doing it.

So what are the problems Claire? Hmmm...
What are the problems facing Maine. and how do you fix them.. (actually FIX them)
Pie-in-the-sky dreamy talk of a utopian Maine where we all sing Coom-bay-ya together and live in a social-justice based communal harmony with the trees and the frogs isnt going to fly. (And attemting to achive that will drive us to the poor house)

Tell us the problems and the solutions Claire. They didnt start with LePage. But things are happening now that have NEVER happened for decades.

Things are happening

Yes sir, "things are happening now that have NEVER happened for decades". We've got trouble, right here in this river city. Trouble that begins with T and that rhymes with G and that stands for......governor. Our troubles are sundrie and while they grow and fester our governor ignores them and creates others.

Mike Lachance's picture

So, you're saying the

So, you're saying the troubles didnt grow and fester between 1972 and 2011?
Now suddenly in 1-year the troubles are all new and are growing and festering?

Really??

 's picture

the report makes it seem that

the report makes it seem that money was spent at Funtown, however, how do we not know that the money spent at Funtown wasn't spent on another service that another facet of Funtown provides, i.e., therapeutic services for handicap children? Companies no longer only provide only one service, most are so diverse that we have no idea what the money is spent on. AND the MHPC knows this, but instead of providing detail information, they just give general information to support their false premise. They manipulate data all the time, just look at their false assertion that Maine was the highest taxed state, when the truth was we were in the middle. The MHPC is promoting only one narrow view, and skew data to support it.

ANTHONY NAZAR's picture

Maine Heritage Foundation is...

...apparently the governing body of the State of Maine. There is no need for a legislature whether controlled by the left or the right. And LePage is just their puppet. They speak, he jumps. And poor Adrienne gives any reporter the old stinkeye should they question the relationship. If my cat runs for Governor of Maine, she will get my vote because she can do better.

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

What a non-story!

An organization paid vendors who by their name only may not be consistent with the organizations purpose as strictly interpreted by a right-wing anti-government dumb-tank. Where's the story in this other than it provides an opportunity for the right-wing to project their fanatasies. I bet there are vendors on the list like Staples or Officemax or software vendors or programmers none of which supply beds.
Since the information provided to the Maine Heritage Policy Center provided no reason for the expenditure, no justification, no purchase order, no statetory reference no conclusions are possible. So the comments below that draw conclusions about the report only reflect the bias of the author.

Mike Lachance's picture

Flamingo Hilton

Flamingo Hilton Vegas?
Funtown Splashtown?
Disney Destinations?
THE SIERRA CLUB?????

Ya, those mean nasty anti-government right wing "dumb tanks" are just misinterpreting all this....

Thanks to MHPC for uncovering this iceberg. No one else will do it...

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

Magical thinking produces unworldly conclusions

You can find similiar organizations and much worse on 80% of the corporations and non-profit organizations vendor listings in America. I have done this kind of analysis, except with all the necessary information, at multiple corporations over 40 years and until they have specific transactions with specific information on the reasons the transaction was completed MHPC have nothing.
The iceberg is in your mind.

Mike Lachance's picture

Pay no attention to the man

Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain huh?
The great Oz says there is nothing to see!

Oh, there is alot to see...

Polar bears love icebergs.... ocean liners don't.
We arn't polar bears.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Aww, what the heck; everyone

Aww, what the heck; everyone knows that Okinawan karate and Disney World are work related to the Maine Housing Authority. How dare they question those entries?

Tobey Johnson's picture

lack of information

Face it, most of the comments on here are incorrect and baseless. If you don't know the whole story, don't comment on it. It is politics, plain and simple. Most of you are just close minded to the fact that these trips and such are cheating and robbing you of your money, ever think that they had to rent out confrence rooms for trainning or meetings?? With the ever changing world of housing, there are new laws and regulations constantly being made therefore, meeting and trainning will be required for everyone to get the services they are asking for. Bottom Line, think first, check your facts, then think again before comments are made and we all look like a bunch of idiots.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Always nice to hear from Dr.

Always nice to hear from Dr. Phil...Since when have opinions and facts become synonymous?

Steve Pond's picture

MSHA

could it possible that McCormick received a call reporting that Micky Mouse and Pluto have been evicted from the kingdom,and are looking for affordable housing?

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

Again

You have nothing but the assumptions in your mind. No reality to it. When they show that Okinawan Karate was paid to demonstrate how karate practices improve the management of loans, then I'll think there is a problem.

Mike Lachance's picture

What????? You can't

What????? You can't possibly be serious....

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

Oh yes I can

Give you a unrelated example. I was asked to identify the top 10 hourly wage earners at a corporation I worked for where hourly wages ran from 9.72 to 19.00 per hour. I found the top earner was paided at the lowest rate and was paid for more than 100 hours per week (This company calculated pay based on premium hours not premium pay rate). The corporate CFO said that was impossible my analysis must be wrong. Nope. The man worked 12 hours and day 365 days a year and had done so for several years. Premium hours calculated out to paying him the base rate for 112 hours per week on most weeks.After an investigation it was confirmed that the gentleman had worked the hours he claimed to work (and work schedules were changed).
I've seen credit card charges to every kind of retailer - many were legitimate and many very wrong. I myself have been re-imbursed for or have paid directly casinos, hotels, and other establishments all consistent with my job fully approved by my supervisors and all double checked by auditors. And casinos, hotels, and other establishments have had nothing to do directly with my job.
I'll bet the same is true of some of the commenters here.

Mike Lachance's picture

You are right... it's

You are right... it's unrelated...
Tying your example to this issue as like saying an apple is an orange with a sunburn and a facelift.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Haha...how do we know that

Haha...how do we know that wasn't the case, Jon? No one has come up yet with a better reason.

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

Thanks

Thanks for confirming my comment. You are assuming; you don't know. MHPC doesn't know anything. LePage doesn't know anything. When they know something, then its time for a story.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

I am assuming nothing of the

I am assuming nothing of the sort. You are perhaps being overly analytical. Besides, the intent of my post was to be facetious. You may have mis-analyzed it.

GARY SAVARD's picture

It must be lonely up there

It must be lonely up there all by yourself...the only one who "knows" anything. This cat's out of the bag, Mr. Albrecht, and it doesn't matter who opened it.

Jonathan Albrecht's picture

It is

Point is no one knows anything. So far the most we have is an unfounded partisan smear. And it does matter who opened it because it speaks directly to the credibility of the "Charge". Namely there is none.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Unfounded?

Unfounded?

Mike Lachance's picture

1) "Doesn't matter who opened

1) "Doesn't matter who opened it" = true
2) "No one knows anything" = false
3) "and it does matter who opened it" = WAIT WHAT? (see #1)

I'd say #3 destroys all credibility of the poster.
Who knows what when the one that knows all doesn't know that what he knows he disagrees with...

Bob Stone's picture

Blind

It is absolutely amazing to see Senator Craven circling the wagons around the corrupt. The MSHA has been used as an ATM for liberal causes and Dale got caught. Just think if Craven's team had prevailed in the last election. Paul Violette, Dale McCormick and their ilk would be just sailing along, spending other people's money, having a good old time!

Dale got caught

She got caught alright, caught in the flatulence of a wannabe-one-percenter who has totally forgotten where he came from and more importantly, how he got here.

GARY SAVARD's picture

Yes Margaret, poor Dale

Yes Margaret, poor Dale McCormick is being targeted, just like the Maine Turnpike Authority was before her, and of course we all know there was nothing going on with that entity that was not totally above board! Laughable blabber from the entrenched but suddenly threatened Democrats that have been having their way for years.

 's picture

I wish the SJ would do some

I wish the SJ would do some vetting with the MHPC BEFORE publishing any of their reports. They do so much distortion, and outright lies, that to give them legitimacy is contrary to journalistic ethics. They have be PROVEN to distort virtually everything they publish, so way doesn't the SJ do the community a service and find the truth BEFORE publishing their tripe?

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Such criticism toward the

Such criticism toward the very venue that has enabled you to become the internationally acclaimed voice of unreason is the epitome of disloyalty.

David  Cote's picture

Dan

Charging a news publication of a lack of journalistic ethics and, in turn, questioning a reporter's integrity are serious claims. Three questions for you... 1) Do you actually believe this reporter and her editors allowed this story to run without properly investigating the source and verifying the information? 2) If your answer to the first question is "no" then are you prepared to back your accusations up with facts with legitimate sources? 3) Finally, if this newspaper is so unreliable in its information then why spend so much time on this website? Wouldn't you be more comfortable cruising websites such as MSNBC, Democracy Now! or the Daily Kos?, or do you bask in the glow of constant confrontation? Expressing opinions is one thing. Accusing a news organization of mishandling stories by a lack of follow up seems over the line to me.

 's picture

david, you're putting words

david, you're putting words in my mouth, AGAIN. I have no doubt that Ms Tice reportedly accurately on the content of the MPHC's report, just that, as most of what goes on in the SJ, no research was done to verify the validity of the report, they simply take the MPHC' word, which has been proven is not very reliable.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

Confucius say, "He who have

Confucius say, "He who have both feet in mouth, leave no room for others to put other words in".

David  Cote's picture

I am not putting words in your mouth, Dan

To quote..."To give them legitimacy is contrary to journalistic ethics." Your words, Dan. Spin it any way you want, but you own this quote, and it's very plain to see the intent behind it.

 's picture

using that quote to justify

using that quote to justify your attack on me is ludicrous. As usual you're twisting the words to suit your own definition, won't work this time, david

David  Cote's picture

Dan...

I don't need to attack you. You self destruct yourself with what you put out there. What I actually find interesting is how you constantly spin text around so you can portray yourself the victim. It's obvious that's your M.O. when the conversation isn't going your way. Again, Dan...I don't need to attack you. You do a fine enough job of that on yourself.

ahem

Boys, boys! Stop it an go to your rooms, both of you.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

While Frank Sinatra sings,

While Frank Sinatra sings, "Stormy Weather", the flies and the spiders get along together...

 's picture

to quote from your demi-god,

to quote from your demi-god, " there you go again"

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

"demi-god"? "What does Ashton

"demi-god"?
"What does Ashton Kutcher's ex-wife have to do with this"?, inquired the inquisitive parrot.

David  Cote's picture

In closing...

Dan, thanks for yet another eye opening discussion. I enjoy the banter and friendly sparring, sorta like Snoopy versus the Red Baron. And I like playing the part of Snoopy. He is, after all the good guy. Enjoy the day.

PAUL ST JEAN's picture

The Pirate agrees with most

The Pirate agrees with most everything you post, David, but he believes this time that you may have insulted the Red Baron.

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