Prosecutors dropped the second of two indictments Thursday against members of a prominent South Portland family who were accused of perjury in connection with a towing business and a dispute with the police.
The case against Robert Maietta was dismissed by the Cumberland County District Attorney’s Office because of “insufficient evidence,” the same reason the office cited last week when it dismissed an identical case against his brother, Vincent Maietta, according to paperwork filed in their cases in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court.
“Unfortunately, they – both Vincent and Robert – were charged on a basis of very little, if any, evidence,” said Daniel Lilley, the Portland attorney who represented both Maietta brothers. “There’s no case here, and it appears to be some sort of retaliation.”
The brothers, who own Maietta Towing Co. in Scarborough, were indicted in connection with statements they made at hearings this spring into allegations that their company charged a vehicle owner more than allowed under South Portland’s ordinance.
Lilley said neither police nor prosecutors would be specific about what the brothers said. “What is the perjured statement?” he asked.
The hearings were prompted by an incident on March 1, when Maietta Towing charged Alex Anastasoff $1,425 to tow his car from the scene of a crash on Broadway in South Portland, according to a decision issued by City Clerk Susan Mooney.
After the hearings, held March 25 and April 1, Mooney ordered Maietta Towing suspended for six months from the city’s list of tow operators authorized to remove vehicles from the scenes of crashes, arrests or emergencies.
Mooney also ordered the company to pay a $100 fine and refund Anastasoff the $1,425 he paid.
Lilley said neither brother was involved in the overbilling. City records indicate that the brothers blamed the overcharge on a company employee and offered to reimburse Anastasoff in full, which Anastasoff confirmed was true.
Lilley said the indictments stem from an ongoing disagreement between the South Portland Police Department and the Maietta family.
“It’s very disheartening to have a police department use the grand jury as a mechanism for retaliation,” Lilley said. “I’m not sure what we’re going to do about it, but we’re not going to let it stew. This is government at its worst.”
The dismissals don’t necessarily end the matter, because the District Attorney’s Office could seek to reindict the brothers. The prosecutor who handled the cases, Assistant District Attorney Hannah May, did not return a phone call Thursday seeking comment.
The perjury charge against each of the brothers was punishable by as much as five years in prison.
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