The Argo Marketing building on Lisbon Street in Lewiston, shown in 2017. (Sun Journal file photo)

AUBURN — The city’s mayor is suing the new owners of his former company for breaking their contract to have him stay on as an employee.

Jason Levesque (Sun Journal file photo)

Mayor Jason Levesque filed a civil complaint at Androscoggin County Superior Court earlier this week claiming that ITC Argo LLC failed to pay him capital assets, past due commissions, travel expenses and reimbursement for company operating expenses that he had charged on his personal credit card.

A spokesman for ITC declined comment Thursday.

The company had agreed to hire Levesque as an executive vice president starting Oct. 1, 2017, for at least one year, at an annual salary of $125,000, plus a car reimbursement of $750 per month and full health care coverage for him and his family.

His total wages were to include commissions earned for bringing in new clients and expanding business with existing clients, according to the complaint that was filed May 30 by Taylor, McCormack & Frame LLC, the Portland law firm representing Levesque.

In his lawsuit, Levesque is seeking to have the court set aside $459,421.29 that he said he expects to be awarded after he prevails. That amount includes at least $100,000 in past due commissions and about $55,000 charged to his credit card for debts largely paid to telephone and computer vendors.


Although ownership of the business transitioned from Levesque to the Georgia-based ITC Capital Partners at the end of September, the buyer and seller agreed that working capital, including cash balances would be calculated and paid to Levesque by the end of 2017.

“This arrangement benefited ITC by allowing time to increase its revenue and become financially stable without having to obtain capital funds from ITC Capital Partners, it’s parent company,” according to the lawsuit.

That deadline was later pushed back to February.

The total amount of working capital due Levesque was tallied by an independently contracted bookkeeper at $295,000, according to the lawsuit. An executive for ITC arrived at a much lower figure of $30,000 that looked, instead, at the new owner’s net figures at the end of 2017 rather than as of Oct. 1, according to the lawsuit.

After assuming his new position at ITC, Levesque noticed that “operating costs for the business were going up substantially,” with the hiring of several new executives and “multiple other ill-advised expenditures,” according to the lawsuit.

In January, the company held an “emergency cash flow” meeting in which Levesque participated.


“It had become evident that ITC could not meet its upcoming payroll obligations and alternative sources of capital were needed. The crisis was borne out of mismanagement,” according to the lawsuit.

Levesque had retained an American Express credit card in the name Argo Marketing Group Inc. The credit card had not been part of the asset sale and was secured by Levesque personally. He was “pressured” by an executive at the company to use that card to pay telephone and computer vendors “under the threat that ITC would ‘collapse’ if (he) did not do so,” according to the lawsuit.

Levesque was promised he would be repaid within 60 days before incurring an interest. Other recurring charges for items such as software license fees, continued to be charged to his personal card.

When he was not fully repaid by the company for those charges, Levesque paid his credit card bill with his own money, totaling more than $55,000.

In March, Levesque was excluded from further meetings where cash flow was discussed, according to the lawsuit. He became aware of one of the company’s outsourced call centers in Columbia, to which ITC owed more than $200,000 and that terminated service with ITC, according to the lawsuit.

The owner of the Columbia call center called Levesque to tell him about the debt and threatened legal action.


Two days after forwarding that information to ITC’s executive team, Levesque was fired, according to the lawsuit.

Levesque was escorted out of the Lewiston building, which he owns, and has not been allowed to return to collect his personal belongings, according to the complaint.

A Sun Journal reporter met Thursday at ITC’s call center at 64 Lisbon St. in Lewiston with Mark Veyette, chief technical officer, who had no comment on the lawsuit.

Levesque sold the company 15 years after he started it. The company employed 300 people at the time of sale, including 200 in Lewiston.

“I realized back in early 2017 that in order for the company to continue to grow, we needed two things: capital and additional brainpower,” Levesque told the Sun Journal last month. “I had a lot of inquiries, but (ITC Capital) came to the table with the best plan, the most capital and the most knowledge.”

Since 2013, Argo, a mostly inbound call center, has been headquartered at 64 Lisbon St., in the former McCrory’s department store, which underwent an extensive, multimillion-dollar renovation.

Levesque was elected mayor of Auburn in November 2017.

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