RAYMOND — The primary contractor at the center of a shoreland zoning ordinance violations case on Sebago Lake has filed for bankruptcy.

Robert L. Durant and his companies, Big Lake Marine and Durant Excavating, filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection Nov. 30.

Durant’s filing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court lists assets of $771,695 and liabilities of $843,403. Creditors include the Internal Revenue Service for $47,358 and Maine Revenue Services for $10,975, the Town of Raymond for an unknown amount and Management Controls for an unknown amount. It’s unclear how the bankruptcy filing will affect the overall case.

The court filing comes one year after the Town of Raymond issued a notice of violations to Auburn businessman Donald Buteau, his real estate holding company Management Controls, and contractors Big Lake Marine and Q-Team Inc., alleging multiple shoreland zoning ordinance violations at two properties on Sebago Lake.

Last fall, the shoreland in front of the homes at 18 Fernwood Road and 28 Whitetail Lane was transformed in two weeks from its natural landscape of towering trees, native vegetation and rocky shore to an open landscape of at least 400 linear feet of riprap — rock — lining the shore.

The violations cited by the town of Raymond and issued Dec. 16, 2021, against both properties include filling and earth moving of more than 10 cubic yards without a permit. The town’s code enforcement officers say they found a “significant” amount of soil disturbance, concluding a majority of the buffer zone between the house and the lake had been stripped of vegetation and regraded. Town documents state fill was added to create the riprapped shoreline and that effective erosion and sedimentation control measures were not used.


An illustration indicates trees removed at 18 Fernwood Road on property owned by Management Controls and Donald Buteau. Town of Raymond photo

Before and after photos were used to illustrate that at least 16 healthy trees had been removed within 100 feet of the water at one property and 14 from the other, creating an illegal opening in excess of 250 square feet under the shoreland ordinance.

The town charged the owners with removing all existing vegetation less than 3 feet in height within 100 feet of the normal high water line, including shrubs and ground cover at one house. The citation states that all the vegetation less than 3 feet had been removed in a 1,250-square-foot area at the second house. Code enforcement noted the vegetation that was removed was stabilizing the shoreline and protecting the water quality of the lake.

The clarity of Sebago puts the glacial lake in a unique category of only 50 drinking sources nationwide that are so clean they are exempt from the Safe Water Drinking Act requirement to filter the water before treatment. Sebago Lake is also the water source for the city of Portland — serving about one in six people in Maine.

Raymond town officials insist that protecting the environmental integrity of Sebago Lake and its water quality is at the heart of its action against Buteau and his company under the state-mandated shoreland zoning ordinance the town put in place in 1994.

There has been little progress toward resolution of the case, nor has there been any remediation of the two properties at the center of the dispute.

A photo of the property at 18 Fernwood Road in Raymond was taken in August 2021 before owner Donald Buteau started construction. Town of Raymond photo

This October 2021 photo of the property on Sebago Lake in Raymond was submitted by Department of Environmental Protection field agent Alexis Sivovlos, showing the work done to remove the natural shoreline and vegetation and replace it with stone, which authorities say violates numerous laws. Town of Raymond photo

Statements starting in the fall of 2021 from both sides in the case said that they were seeking a timely resolution.


The town says a remediation plan for the properties has not been approved yet. “The town has been working with the parties on a restoration plan and has provided comments relating to the latest iteration,” an attorney for the town said.

The town’s administrative appeals process is complete. The Zoning Board of Appeals held seven hearings between March and November and has rendered its final decision on all the appeals filed by Donald Buteau and his contractors.

The property at 28 Whitetail Lane is seen Aug. 24, 2022, after construction was completed. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

The end result is the board upheld most of the violations contained in the original notices of violations, but determined the factual record did not support a violation related to the expansion of the jetty at the Fernwood Road property, nor did it support a violation for construction of a beach at the Whitetail Lane property. The board also vacated a few violations as being duplicative and the town withdrew some violations, leaving 14 intact. The statute allows for a minimum fine of $100 per day per violation and a maximum of $2,500 a day per violation.

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has also cited Buteau and contractor Robert Durant for violations of Maine’s Natural Resources Protection Act. The DEP did not respond to a request for an update on the status of that case.

Separately, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers is still investigating whether any of the regulations it oversees were violated. “Our investigation is ongoing and is limited to the possible discharges of fill material below the ordinary high water mark of Sebago Lake,” a statement from the public affairs office stated.

Neither Donald Buteau, his attorneys nor attorneys for Robert Durant responded to requests for comment for this story. Buteau has filed an appeal of the Zoning Board of Appeals’ final decision with the Cumberland County Superior Court.

Related Headlines

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.