State representative pays fine for fireworks

Posted July 18, 2009, at 12:10 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:15 p.m.

LINCOLN, Maine — State Rep. Richard Blanchard of Old Town has paid a $70 fine for illegal fireworks possession during a Fourth of July incident at his camp on Abbott Road in Enfield in which state officials claimed he tried to use his position to evade the charge.

Blanchard, 72, of Old Town paid the fine at the clerk’s window at Lincoln District Court on Thursday, a court clerk said. Documents related to the payment listed the case as adjudicated.

“I said I was going to pay my fine and put it to bed, and that’s what I did,” Blanchard said Friday. “There’s nothing else to say.”

Blanchard had denied using his position improperly, saying he referred to himself as a state representative as a “force of habit.” He was among seven people charged with possession of fireworks worth less than $100 during a fireworks suppression sweep by boat of Cold Stream Pond camps on the evening of the holiday.

“He said, ‘I am a state legislator.’ You can interpret that however you like,” Commissioner Anne H. Jordan of the Maine Department of Public Safety said after she was informed of the incident on July 7. “Nobody gets favors. Nobody gets special treatment. He will be treated just like anybody else.”

Blanchard at first denied all accusations and said the discussion with the fire marshal, Investigator Scott Richardson and Sgt. Ron Dunham, with the Maine Warden Service, was civil. Then things became heated because the investigators used their positions to intimidate the representative’s 15-year-old grandson during the family’s party, which had about 30 guests, according to a family member.

The investigators’ supervisors said the investigators behaved with complete professionalism and that the 15-year-old sparked the investigators’ attention by shooting off fireworks. The family denied that the boy was using fireworks.

The report on the incident prepared by Richardson was not available at the courthouse on Friday. The case was due to be reviewed in court on Aug. 4.

Christopher Parr, a staff attorney with the Maine State Police, said in an e-mail dated July 10 that the report was completed, but being withheld to protect “the personal privacy interests of parties referenced or discussed in the report” and because the case was pending.

Parr did not return a message seeking comment left at his office Friday.

nsambides@bangordailynews.net

794-8215

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