MILLINOCKET — Councilor David Cyr can stay at a dwelling he is building outside town and declare residence at his mother-in-law’s property in town until “he actually does relocate to his new home with the intent to remain there,” a Maine Municipal Association attorney has advised town officials.
Town Manager Eugene Conlogue said Friday that he sought attorney Richard P. Flewelling’s opinion upon request from Councilor Bruce McLean. He and council Chairman Wallace Paul said Flewelling’s advisory should clear the air of questions surrounding the residences of Cyr and Councilor Matthew Polstein.
“It means nothing has changed for either of those guys,” Paul said Friday. “Obviously things are in process, but nothing has really changed, and it seems that MMA agrees with that.”
In his memo to MMA’s legal services, Conlogue explained that “one of our councilors [Cyr, he said Friday] recently sold his house and re-established his residency at his mother-in-law’s home,” using that address to register to vote and planning to use it for his vehicle registration.
The complicating factor, Conlogue wrote, is that Cyr was finishing the Millinocket Lake home and was “at this location most of the time” doing construction.
In a response dated Aug. 12, Flewelling mistook Conlogue’s unspecific reference to mean Polstein. He cited state law 21-A MRSA section 112(1) and wrote that residence “is largely a factual determination, but a statement of intent, together with the location of any current dwelling and the place where motor vehicles are registered, among other factors, are considered reliable evidence of residency.”
Conlogue took the reference to mean that councilors can live at summer camps and other places out of town for months at a time, so long as they ultimately list a town residence by the criteria Flewelling cites — location of motor vehicle registry, voting address, etc.
“People move to a camp all the time, particularly in the summer,” Conlogue said. “It’s nothing unusual. That’s all you can say about that.”
Paul agreed, saying that he often stays at his camp outside town lines and nobody questions his eligibility to remain a councilor.
Cyr and McLean did not immediately return messages seeking comment left on Friday.
Polstein had no comment on the letters, which Conlogue had circulated to the council upon receipt. Polstein said he believed McLean, a political ally and friend, made the request upon prompting from some constituents.
Polstein, a restaurateur and entrepreneur, and Cyr, a cement contractor, are adamant political opponents and competing businessmen. Some trace their rivalry to Polstein’s plans for a $65 million resort on Hammond Ridge, which is outside Millinocket and was sold to him by Katahdin Timberlands, LLC several years ago.
Cyr’s resort plans for nearby Black Cat Mountain stalled when Katahdin Timberlands did not sell him the land he leases there. Since Polstein’s acquisition of the nearby land, questions occasionally have arisen from Cyr’s constituents about Polstein’s true residence, which Polstein has maintained remains in town.