Brewer may send investigative report to AG’s office

Posted May 17, 2010, at 11:41 p.m.

BREWER, Maine — City councilors will decide tonight whether to forward an investigative report that states former housing authority chairman Calvin Bubar violated state laws to the Maine Attorney General’s Office.

However, before the board votes on the matter, “Cal Bubar’s attorney, Larry Willey, has asked to come make a comment,” Mayor Arthur “Archie” Verow said on Monday.

Verow said he will not allow a debate to occur.

The city hired attorney James Cohen of Portland law firm Verrill Dana in October to conduct an investigation into whether any laws — particularly the state’s conflict of interest law — were broken when the housing authority purchased 258 Chamberlain St. from Bubar, who resigned as board chairman two months before.

Bubar served as chairman of the housing authority board until he submitted his resignation on July 9, 2009, the day before the purchase and sale agreement for his property was signed. He technically was still on the board until the council accepted his resignation on July 14. The property sale was finished on Oct. 7.

Cohen’s report, which was presented to councilors on May 6, clearly states that state laws and the housing authority’s rules were broken and that there was a direct and substantial conflict of interest.

City councilors became concerned after hearing that the housing authority was going to purchase Bubar’s Chamberlain Street land for $280,000, more than three times its assessed property value.

They held an executive session on Oct. 1 to discuss the matter, and at their Oct. 13 meeting voted to ask the state Attorney General’s Office to review the case.

The AG’s office declined to investigate the matter, saying that any possible law violation did not rise to the level of crime the agency typically investigates. Officials from the office did say they “would be happy” to review the results of an independent investigation.

Tonight’s council order has an emergency preamble, which if endorsed, would allow the report to be sent to the AG’s office immediately instead of having to wait the five days typically required for council orders to become effective.

Any violation of the state’s conflict of interest law is a Class E crime, which is punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

The City Council meeting begins at 6:30 p.m., and the item is the last on the agenda.

A copy of Cohen’s report is posted on the city’s website, brewerme.org.

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