U.S. Attorneys are asking a judge to enforce a lien on this home at 13 Annie’s Way in Kennebunk, saying the owner, Robert Newman, owes $720,000 in back taxes. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

A York County man risks losing his Kennebunk property to the federal government over more than $720,000 in unpaid income taxes.

Robert K. Newman, owner and CEO of Newman Communications, “willfully failed to collect, truthfully account for, or pay” nearly $340,000 in income taxes to the U.S. government dating to 2010, according to a civil complaint filed in late November by federal prosecutors in U.S. District Court. Newman also owes more than $380,000 in unpaid Social Security and Medicare taxes dating to 2011.

The complaint does not include further details about the unpaid taxes. It also does not reference any possible criminal charges in the case. The U.S. Attorney’s office did not return a request Thursday to discuss the complaint.

Prosecutors for the Department of Justice’s tax division are asking a judge to enforce several liens against his property at 13 Annie’s Way in Kennebunk. That would mean selling the property to cover what Newman owes the federal government.

The Department of Justice also lists as defendants a Kennebunk bank, two utility companies and several Maine and York county agencies that either have their own liens against or an interest in Newman’s property.

This is not Newman’s first time in court over his public relations company, which according to its website specializes in book publicity and book promotion.


A former client, Steven Landsburg, sued Newman in 2020 for not delivering on promises to generate publicity at a national conference, appearances on radio and television programs, and send press releases to large news agencies.

A Massachusetts judge ordered Newman to pay Landsburg $5,500, Landsburg said, adding that Newman did pay the amount.

Landsburg has now helped create a website that describes Newman as a “con man and a rip-off artist who preys on authors by charging them for publicity services that he does not provide.”

Reached by cellphone Thursday, Newman said he did not wish to discuss the complaint filed against him or Landsburg’s accusations.

Newman said he was the one who terminated his company’s relationship with Landsburg, after learning about an effort in 2013 before Landsburg was his client by University of Rochester students to censure the author over a blog post in which he asked whether the rape of an unconscious person should be illegal. Landsburg, a professor of economics at the university, apologized that his post “distressed so many people so deeply” and that the question was posed hypothetically.

Newman said Thursday that his company has represented “hundreds of clients” who have been happy with his service since it opened in 1993. He did not name any authors whom the Portland Press Herald could speak with to verify his statement.


Landsburg was already a published author when he received an email from Newman in 2018, offering his public relations services. At the time Landsburg couldn’t find anyone who was familiar with Newman, therefore he couldn’t find anyone who had a bad experience with his company.

He paid Newman in the fall of 2018 – or rather, Landsburg said, “he wanted me to pay this other person who he described as his ‘financial guy.'”

“I always suspected that the reason for that was he was trying to hide that income from the IRS,” Landsburg said.

Landsburg said he knows of other cases in which authors have sued Newman for similar claims and said he was a witness in one lawsuit filed in North Carolina.

The Union County courthouse in North Carolina confirmed Thursday that Newman was charged there with a felony count of obtaining property under false pretenses. The courthouse was unable to provide detailed records or further information on the case. Newman later provided the Press Herald with documents showing the charge was dismissed in August 2022.

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