In a recent editorial about the proposed Oxford County casino, we accused Evergreen Mountain Enterprises and Seth Carey of lacking a plan. We were wrong.

Apparently, there is a plan. Only Carey and a few Rumford selectmen, however, are privy to it. The rest of us – including the voters of Maine, who will decide the casino’s fate 60 days from today – are still in the dark.

Last week, Carey and three Rumford selectmen met, in private, about the casino. Carey, who is a town native, active in its politics, and whose father is town attorney, had secured selectmen support for his casino by a 3-2 vote on Aug. 21.

Following this latest session, certain selectmen hummed happy tunes about the casino, including one who refused to support it Aug. 21. Town Manager Len Greaney also canceled upcoming public hearings regarding it. If it wins, says Greaney, “Rumford would be in a sales mode.”

By holding a private meeting with a casino developer, during which crucial details were apparently revealed, it looks like Rumford has already entered a “sales mode.”

In fact, the town looks sold.

Which raises an important question – what was said during that meeting? Carey is long overdue in offering details about his casino. It lacks shape and substance. But he had enough to convince one wavering selectman to support it now.

Or, to support casinos in Oxford County in general. But this is semantics; supporting gambling in Oxford County, at this time and this place, means standing with Evergreen Mountain Enterprises and Carey.

There are no other suitors at present. Or are there?

Is this what Carey revealed? The long-awaited investors to build and manage his four-season, environmentally friendly, eco-gambling resort? Would he name his potential partners to convince selectmen of his plan’s worthiness?

If so, why wouldn’t Carey tell everybody? So far, he’s offered promises and projections, but few facts. To have his casino approved at the polls, he needs to convince many more than the Rumford selectmen of its viability.

That Carey’s father is Rumford’s town attorney and his law office is a campaign donor is also dangerous. In any dealings with developers, town attorneys play leading roles. This closeness of the Careys and town government is disquieting.

Yet this potential conflict pales against the possibility of collusion occurring behind closed doors in town hall. The town skirted Maine’s Right-To-Know law by meeting with Carey. Carey skirted his responsibility to voters by talking details in private.

There are now two months until Election Day. Two years ago, this Oxford County casino was a novel idea being discussed in Rumford. Without other evidence to the contrary, that’s all it can still be considered today.


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