December 11, 2018
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What you need to know about Shawn Moody’s 2006 settlement with a former employee

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Republican candidate for governor Shawn Moody onstage at a forum in Portland, Oct. 3, 2018

The toss-up Maine governor’s race was roiled on Friday when The New York Times published details of Republican nominee Shawn Moody’s settlement of a sex discrimination case 12 years ago with a former employee at his eponymous chain of collision centers.

His campaign blasted as “false” the allegations from Jill Hayward, who said Moody fired her in a visit to her apartment while she was on maternity leave following an emergency C-section. Those allegations were first made in a 2006 complaint to the Maine Human Rights Commission.

Here’s what we know, when we knew about it and how these allegations unfolded.

Hayward’s story is consistent with her complaint to the state and Moody’s campaign is denying the allegations while he said he’s barred from discussing it. In her May 2006 complaint to the state — which was first reported by The Bollard, an alternative newspaper in Portland — Hayward said she had worked at two Moody’s Collision Center locations since 2003 before going on maternity leave for eight weeks in October 2005 to have her child.

In November 2005, she alleged that Moody told her that she couldn’t come back to work in December because “you are no longer going to do the job” now that she had the child. The complaint says that Moody’s hired a man to replace her and four or five of the company’s 50 employees at the time were women.

Hayward gave the same story to The New York Times. The case file only indicates that the case was settled and withdrawn by November 2006 without being investigated by the commission, which is common. Hayward told the newspaper that she got a $20,000 settlement, but eventually lost her apartment and car and had to move in with family.

“Any time he comes on, I turn it off because it’ll make me teary,” she told the Times.

At a Friday news conference in Gorham, Moody repeated what he told the Times — that he couldn’t discuss the allegations because of the settlement that came at his insurer’s recommendation. Earlier in the day, his campaign said the allegations were false without explaining how. The candidate didn’t explicitly say that.

However, he said that he and Hayward were “bound by the same contract” around confidentiality and one point, he seemed to imply that the amount of the settlement indicated that the allegations had no validity and if true, the case could have taken “a life of its own” then.face

“We have never let anyone go in this company for any other reason other than performance-related issues, period,” Moody told reporters.

The Maine Human Rights Commission has record of no other discrimination complaints against Moody’s, which has a good reputation in Maine and has been named one of the best places to work in the state. His campaign said that four of Moody’s 25 female employees gave birth while employed or are pregnant now.

Republicans are billing the story as a partisan “smear.” But it’s more complicated. The Maine Republican Party hammered the Times in a statement, calling the story a “desperate smear attempt” that is “so fundamentally flawed that Maine’s press wouldn’t even touch it when (Democratic gubernatorial nominee) Janet Mills’ national attack squad shopped it around.” State Sen. Eric Brakey, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate, called it a “disgusting attack” on Moody.

But it started with a public case file. The Bangor Daily News heard rumors of the incident late in the Republican gubernatorial primary, but we didn’t know then that the commission handled it. We got the case file from the agency on Oct. 1 after The Bollard reported it.

A records request to the commission found that four entities asked for the case file before the BDN. The first request came in August from Simon Thompson, a Democratic operative from Portland. In September, reporters from WMTW, the Portland Press Herald and The Bollard asked for it — in that order.

The BDN didn’t publish a story on it because it was unable to speak with Hayward, whom reporters tried to contact by phone, Facebook and in person to flesh out the case details.

Reading list

A mix-up with a mailer about a shuttered paper mill caused embarrassment for a Maine congressman’s office. The Morning Sentinel reported that U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin’s congressional office sent out a misleading mailer in September touting hundreds of jobs that the congressman, who’s seeking re-election in the 2nd Congressional District, helped save at a Somerset County mill. But the mill referenced, Madison Paper, shuttered two years ago and the employees whose jobs Poliquin said he helped save, were laid off. Poliquin’s staff apologized for the mistake mailer, which was sent to fewer than 500 constituents.

There’s a new federal judge from Maine. The Senate on Thursday confirmed Superior Court Justice Lance Walker, 46, of Falmouth, who was nominated in April by President Donald Trump to replace U.S. District Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. Walker, was unanimously endorsed for confirmation by the Judiciary Committee in June. Federal judges are appointed for life. His annual salary will be $208,000, according to the federal court system’s website. His current salary is $125,632, according to the administrative office of the courts. Walker is expected to preside regularly in federal court in Bangor. He could begin working next week.

Developers of one of two major land-based salmon farms proposed for midcoast Maine plan to break ground next spring. Whole Oceans intends to file, or has filed, nine permit applications with local, state and federal regulators to build its plant at the former Verso paper mill site in Bucksport. The company originally hoped to begin site work preparation as early as two months ago, with construction to follow, but the permitting process is not finished.

Plagues continue to threaten mammals in Maine. As wildlife officials took precautions against a deadly deer disease detected in Quebec, marine mammal researchers continue tracking a distemper outbreak that has killed hundreds of seals in three states, including Maine. The fatal disease is spreading east along the Maine coast. Allied Whale, the marine mammal research arm of College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, has been receiving dozens of calls about sick or dead seals between Rockland and the Canadian border, according to Lindsey Jones, the group’s stranding coordinator. So far this month, Allied Whale has responded to reports of 14 dead seals Last month, it counted “just over 50” dead seals in its eastern Maine response area, she said. For September 2017, it had nine, while in September 2016, it had only two.

Crafty Mainers

I stink at making things.

I bombed out of Cub Scouts because I failed at gimp and lanyards. Other than phys ed, art was always my worst class in school. When I was in second grade, my homophone art drawing was for “nun” and “none” so I only had to inflict my “skills” on one side of the page. My sixth grade industrial arts coat rack became a hat rack because I planed and cut the wood so badly that it could only accommodate one peg.

My wife still does not let me anywhere near power tools.

My utter life failure at arts and crafts has only made me more appreciative of people who can create with their hands. This weekend, we have an opportunity to visit crafty Mainers all over the state as part of the annual Maine Crafts Weekend statewide tour.

Most of the tourists are gone, so it’s our chance to enjoy the foliage, the opportunity to buy fresh Maine apples and appreciate Maine artists at work. Click here for featured locations. Here is y our soundtrack. — Robert Long

Today’s Daily Brief was written by Michael Shepherd, Alex Acquisto and Robert Long. If you’re reading this on the BDN’s website or were forwarded it, click here to receive Maine’s leading newsletter on state politics via email on weekday mornings. Click here to subscribe to the BDN.

To reach us, do not reply directly to this newsletter, but email us directly at aacquisto@bangordailynews.com, mshepherd@bangordailynews.com or rlong@bangordailynews.com.


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