Over many months, much was written in this newspaper about the Maine Ethics Commission’s investigation of the Political Action Committee’s identification of their source of funding. A settlement was reached and no fault was acknowledged.

In each of those articles, my name, along with others, was listed as a member of the People of Lewiston and Auburn PAC. I now wish to set the record straight as my good name has been tainted by implication. Nothing is further from the truth.

I was asked by the local investors for a casino in Lewiston if I, as mayor, would agree to be a spokesperson for the group. Lewiston voters had voted the year before by a 2-1 margin in support of a casino. The City Council was supportive, as was the city’s administration.

The city administrator debated Dennis Bailey of CasinosNo!, who had previously been fined by the Ethics Commission and was the lead complainant against the People of Lewiston and Auburn PAC. The debate took place at a Chamber breakfast.

The city received legal advice prior to my agreeing to be the spokesperson for the casino campaign. With that legal advice, I agreed to do it. I also allowed my name to be used as a member of the PAC.

Let it be known that I didn’t receive a penny for being spokesperson and being a member of the PAC. I didn’t raise a penny for the PAC nor did I invest even a penny as a spokesperson and non-member for the local group wanting to bring a casino here.

The Maine Ethics Commission never approached me to testify at any of its hearings. I never attended one of the hearings. Mark Walker, attorney for the investors told me “not once during the Commission’s investigations did Larry Gilbert’s name come up.” I first heard of the hearings from a Sun Journal reporter.

Since my name was always listed as a member of the PAC in most of the articles in this newspaper dealing with this, I write to set the record straight. Although guilt by implication may be implied, that is simply wrong. Sometimes we need to let the facts play out to get to the truth. The fact in this case is I did nothing wrong.

As mayor, I simply was supportive of the casino initiative to further develop our downtown, bring in some 500 living-wage jobs with good benefits, more construction jobs to clean up a blighted building in our city’s gateway, $2 million in tax revenue to the city, revenue for the city of Auburn and Androscoggin County, all of that, every year.

There is a saying, “the truth will set you free”; I am free.

Laurent Gilbert Sr., Lewiston

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