AUGUSTA — The state ethics commission levied a $1,000 fine Thursday against a casino proponent’s political action committee for filing an incomplete campaign finance report.

Black Bear Entertainment acknowledged last month that it inadvertently failed to report a $50,000 payment to its spokesman Peter Martin. The omission was brought forward by Dennis Bailey of Casinos No!

Dan Walker, an attorney for Black Bear, said the payment wasn’t reported because the money was drawn from an account that is different from the one that is normally used.

The commission could have fined the group $10,000 for the mistake. The commission’s staff suggested a $500 fine, but commission members decided that wasn’t enough.

“I don’t think that’s a very hard slap on the wrist at all,” said commission member Edward Youngblood.

Commission Chairman Walter McKee suggested that $1,000 would be more appropriate. “We need to send a message that you’ve really got to be super careful with these (reports),” he said.

In November, voters will vote on a new resort casino plan by Black Bear Entertainment in Oxford County.

The commission refused to reconsider a decision it made last month that Martin should have filed as a lobbyist earlier than he did. Walker said Martin wanted to more thoroughly explain the situation, but the commission voted 4-0 that it did not want to reconsider the issue.

“At a certain point, we have to move forward,” McKee said.

 

MaineToday Media State House Reporter Susan Cover can be contacted at 620-7015 or at:

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