AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — The Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee has identified $1 million in lavish spending — including $200,000 that might be illegal — during an investigation into the Maine Turnpike Authority.

During a hearing Friday, Sen. Roger Katz tried to question former director Paul Violette, but he declined to answer. Violette stared downward, and made an occasional grimace.

Violette stepped down amid questions about turnpike finances and $157,000 in gift cards that were handed out. The committee believes Violette was using many of gift cards for his own use, including at fancy hotels around the world, and a clothing store to buy a tuxedo.

At one point, Katz looked at Violette and asked: “If you caught a tolltaker taking money from the cash drawer, what would you have done?” Violette didn’t answer.

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