June 23, 2018
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Camden town employee accused of impersonating state official

By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff

CAMDEN, Maine — The town’s economic development director is accused of pretending to be Deb Neuman, the state’s deputy commissioner of economic development, and sending emails on her behalf, according to court documents.

Brian Hodges is being investigated by state police after they found emails to state officials that were supposedly from Neuman — who now holds Hodges’ old job.

The emails say things such as, “George is a stud and kinky!!! Wooooo hooooooooooooooooooo” which may refer to either Neuman’s boss, George Gervais, commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, or to George Hale, occasional co-host on Neuman’s “Back to Business Radio Show,” which airs Sundays on stations in Maine and New Hampshire.

Hodges neither denied nor affirmed the accusations. When asked whether he was guilty Tuesday, he replied, “I don’t have any information I can give.”

Neuman denied writing the emails. Gervais suspected Hodges was behind the messages and called police.

The Maine Attorney General’s Office then issued subpoenas to Google, Time Warner and Midcoast Internet Solutions to figure out what IP addresses were linked to the account. In the end, they found two IP addresses — one from the Camden town office and the other from Hodges’ domestic partner’s home, according to court documents.

Police were granted a search warrant to take Hodges’ work computer, records, data and more on Dec. 20.

Among the emails being investigated and sent from backtobusinessradio@gmail.com, according to the search warrant application, were:

“Advise to you, stop pushing the envelope. Governor will get you something. If the IT thing gets any more rumblings, the other state employees will start asking questions. We’re already on thin ice. You’re making it worse” and “FYI, spoke with Brian. He’s a go but has concerns about Governor’s reputation. I can’t say I blame him!” The emails were sent in September and October.

Maine State Police Detective David Armstrong wrote in an affidavit filed in Rockland District Court that Neuman said the emails “caused some problems that had to be explained to Governor Paul LePage.”

Hodges is being investigated for the crime of impersonating a public servant, a Class E crime with a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

According to Hodges, he will remain active in his Camden job through the investigation. The town manager did not return press calls Tuesday.

The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development could not comment on an ongoing investigation, according to Doug Ray, spokesman for the department.

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