Ex-Turnpike head to make first court appearance, plead guilty to theft

Posted Feb. 09, 2012, at 5:13 a.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — The former head of the Maine Turnpike is expected to plead guilty when he makes his first court appearance since being charged with theft for unauthorized use of turnpike funds.

Former Maine Turnpike Authority Executive Director Paul Violette has a court hearing in Portland on Thursday. He is charged in connection with unauthorized use of turnpike gift cards and using turnpike authority credit cards for personal travel, meals and other expenses.

Violette’s attorney has said Violette has agreed to plead guilty in exchange for a prison sentence not to exceed five years. A sentencing hearing has not been scheduled.

Violette resigned last March after 23 years as executive director amid allegations of lavish spending and misappropriation of turnpike funds.