LEWISTON — The local Chamber of Commerce board of directors voted unanimously Tuesday to accept the resignation of President Matt Leonard who resigned last week over an assault gun raffle.

Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce board Chairwoman Stephanie Gelinas wrote in an email to chamber members that because it is a personnel issue, “the chamber board and staff are not at liberty to discuss the matter in any detail.”

Leonard tendered his resignation last week over the fallout from a public raffle for a custom-built, semi-automatic rifle announced by the chamber on Election Day.

In a news release last Wednesday, Leonard called the timing of the raffle announcement “egregious,” “reprehensible” and “a colossal error in judgment.” The raffle for the AR-15 was quickly canceled.

Leonard told the Sun Journal last week that chamber staff had come up with the raffle as a way to raise money and to promote chamber member Top Gun of Maine in Poland. 

The board of directors knew of the potential raffle, Leonard said, but the board had not yet fully vetted the idea when the email announcement was sent out Tuesday.

Leonard wrote in last week’s news release that the raffle was canceled “upon decisive, explicit and strong order” from the chamber’s board of directors.”

He added, “The board has personally expressed to me without equivocation that the distasteful combination of the timing and content of the email that was sent yesterday promoting this raffle does not represent their guidance and intent.”

Gelinas wrote Tuesday that the board would meet Friday to discuss its next steps.

“The Chamber has a long and vibrant history and a fantastic staff” she wrote. “Please be assured that our chamber remains strong, and we are preparing to move forward with events and initiatives and we will continue to provide our members with the same quality service.”

 


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