The entrance to the Anson-Madison Water District building is shown on Maple Street in downtown Madison on March 24. The former superintendent of the district, Michael Corson, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to theft charges stemming from what authorities say was the illegal sale of old district water lines to a scrap metal dealer. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

SKOWHEGAN — The former superintendent of the Anson-Madison Water District pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Somerset County Superior Court to theft charges.

Michael Corson, 52, entered his plea during his arraignment on two separate criminal counts of theft by misapplication of property.

Authorities say Corson illegally sold old district water mains to a scrap metal dealer on several different occasions from March to October last year. Corson was initially charged with one count of theft in December. The water district’s former foreman faced the same charge.

The investigation began last October when the Somerset County Sheriff’s Office was notified by a trustee of the district that “a concerned citizen” had accused Corson and the foreman of selling discontinued water lines.

Then in February the district attorney’s office decided not to move forward with the initial theft charge against both men, citing new evidence that came to light that prompted the office to decline to prosecute.

But the Somerset County grand jury on Feb. 24 indicted Corson on a felony count of Class B theft and another felony count of Class C theft. The indictment was temporarily under seal. The former foreman, Michael Jordan, was not indicted.


It has not been clear what new evidence came to light that led to charges being declined, and then new charges being brought to the grand jury.

Trustees of the water district announced Dec. 14 that they had contracted with the Maine Rural Water Association to manage all district operations, days after they fired Corson from his post. In doing this, the staff of nearly half a dozen was laid off.

A copy of a search warrant obtained by the Morning Sentinel in December indicated that more than $12,000 was collected from the sale of discontinued utility lines to the scrap metal dealer. Twenty-one transactions were documented from March to October of last year and only $500 of the proceeds were deposited into the district’s account.

Separately, a federal lawsuit was filed last month against Corson by trustees who allege that he intentionally locked officials out of water district accounts for billing, employment records and other operations.

In the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Bangor, trustees say that Corson changed passwords to his work-issued cellphone, Amazon accounts and for mapping and billing software applications, a move that has jeopardized the district’s “ability to carry on normal operations.”

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