December 15, 2019
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Maine ethics watchdog, casino backers to settle record campaign finance fines

Robert F. Bukaty | AP
Robert F. Bukaty | AP
The State House in Augusta

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine’s ethics watchdog voted Wednesday to settle penalties for campaign finance violations with two backers of a failed 2017 casino referendum, making them pay only a fifth of the $500,000 in fines that the state assessed last year.

Certain details of the $100,000 settlement were released by the Maine Ethics Commission on Tuesday, and commissioners voted unanimously to approve it Wednesday, resolving an ethics case that clouded the unsuccessful referendum bid for a York County casino.

It would have given rights to the casino to a company run by Northern Mariana Islands developer Shawn Scott, but the commission levied penalties for late financial filings against four committees run by his sister, Lisa Scott of the Caribbean nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis.

The commission said her offshore residence would make it hard to recoup the full $500,000. Under the agreement, Lisa Scott’s committees will have to pay $50,000 to the commission, and Cheryl Timberlake, an Augusta-based lobbyist who served as treasurer for one of the committees, will have to pay the rest.

Paul Lavin, the commission’s assistant director, said the settlement agreement should be finalized within a week. The full settlement agreement is being kept confidential until it is executed, but it will still constitute the biggest campaign finance penalty in Maine history.

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