BREWER, Maine — Just before city councilors decided on Tuesday to forward an investigative report that says former housing authority chairman Calvin Bubar violated state laws to the Maine Attorney General’s Office, they allowed his attorney to make a statement.
Bubar sat in the audience with his son and several housing authority members as his Bangor attorney, N. Laurence Willey, told councilors that there were holes in the report done by attorney James Cohen of the Portland law firm Verrill Dana.
Cohen was hired by the city to investigate whether Bubar broke any laws — particularly the state’s conflict of interest law — when he sold his property at 258 Chamberlain St. to the housing authority in October just two months after he resigned as the board’s chairman.
Willey presented a timeline of the events leading up to when Bubar first approached the housing authority and his actions after the sale was complete.
He said the purpose of the timeline was to show what was left out of Cohen’s report.
“We think it was substantial,” Willey said
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. 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.
Willey pointed out during his short presentation that Bubar bought the land and took steps on his own to develop it into a housing project for area seniors before he was ever on the housing authority board. He also said among other things that Bubar offered in January to repurchase the land, but the housing authority refused.
After the presentation, Councilor Larry Doughty made a few comments and then motioned that the investigative report be sent to the AG’s office.
Councilor Jerry Goss amended the motion to add that Willey’s timetable also be sent, which was agreed upon by his fellow councilors. Councilor Joseph Ferris, who represented Bubar when he purchased the land, did not vote on the matter.
“My hope is that we learn from this as a city so it doesn’t happen again,” said Goss, who is the board’s liaison to the housing authority. He said the housing authority’s board members all recently have been educated about conflict of interest laws.
At one point a question was raised about why there was an emergency preamble on the order, which allows them to immediately send the report instead of waiting five days.
“People in the city don’t want to wait five days,” Councilor Manley DeBeck responded. “If it goes tomorrow it’s not soon enough in my mind. Ignorance is no excuse. If you do the crime, you do the time.”
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.