AUGUSTA — Attorneys for the backers of a York County casino referendum walked out of a hearing on Friday without accepting subpoenas for financial records after the state’s ethics watchdog voted to investigate them.

The probe will focus on $4.3 million in campaign funds as of March’s end given to Lisa Scott, a Miami woman listed as the campaign leader, by a company linked to her brother, U.S. Virgin Islands developer Shawn Scott, and a foreign company that was disclosed in April in possible violation of Maine law.

It’s sure to shed more light on the complicated, international financial dealings of Shawn Scott, who along with his fellow investors in the Nevada company Capital Seven, LLC would be the only entity that could win the casino if Maine voters approve one on the November ballot.

On Friday, Bruce Merrill, a Portland-based lawyer for Lisa Scott, and Alexis Fallon, a lawyer for Capital Seven and the Regent Able Associate Co., a Japanese consulting company, gave presentations to the Maine Ethics Commission.

After the commission chairwoman, Margaret Matheson, signed the subpoenas, but Merrill and Fallon walked out of the commission’s office on Augusta’s Memorial Circle without accepting them from Jonathan Wayne, the commission’s executive director.

Merrill told reporters as he walked out that he’s “not authorized” to accept a subpoena, saying he hasn’t read it and taking it would make him “derelict in my responsibility.” It was unclear immediately afterward if that constituted service of the subpoenas under Maine law.

In the hearing, Merrill told commissioners that the money previously documented as loans provided to Lisa Scott by Capital Seven and the Regent Able Associate Co., a Japanese consulting company, would not have to be repaid if the bid fails.

If it succeeds, there may be “some benefit” to Lisa Scott, Merrill told commissioners. That prompted commissioners to question whether they were loans before unanimously authorizing an investigation requested by their staff last week.

This is Shawn Scott’s second foray into Maine, where he persuaded voters in 2003 to allow slot machines at a Bangor facility that became Hollywood Casino after he sold the rights for $51 million. He did that without getting a license, a process that was complicated by a damning report from harness racing regulators.

More political coverage….
AP

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