GOP says Maine Turnpike director will resign

Posted March 04, 2011, at 6 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — The Maine Republican Party said Friday that Paul Violette, executive director of the Maine Turnpike Authority, will resign next week.

The action comes as the Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee investigates the turnpike’s distribution of $157,000 in gift certificate purchases in 2005-2006 from hotel chains and restaurants.

A message left with the turnpike for Violette was not immediately returned. Turnpike spokesman Scott Tompkins said the turnpike board had not received a letter of resignation from Violette, but the board was meeting Friday afternoon. Tompkins said the board went into executive session during its meeting, but no action was expected.

At a meeting in February, the Government Oversight Committee ordered the turnpike to provide documentation of who received the gift certificates.

Reports of the resignation also came amid proposals to abolish the turnpike authority or divert more control of the toll road to the Legislature.

State Rep. Richard Cebra, R-Naples, House chairman of the Transportation Committee, said he was “sorry it had to come to this. But it’s time for the Legislature to have greater oversight over the turnpike authority, and this is one step in that direction.”

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