March 4, 2010

Jailed for forgery, man runs for officeThis is a 6-60-1 dummy headyne yyyyy

By MATT WICKENHEISER Staff Writer

— By MATT WICKENHEISER

Staff Writer

A former state representative who was jailed two years ago for forging signatures on petitions for state Clean Election funds has filed papers to run for governor.

Peter Truman of Old Orchard Beach, also known as Peter Throumoulos, plans to run as a Democrat.

Truman, 60, registered with the state ethics commission Sept. 2. He joins a field with 18 other Republican, Democratic, Green and independent candidates.

His name was Truman when he served two terms in the Legislature. He said he changed it to his original family name, Throumoulos, 12 years ago.

He ran unsuccessfully for state Senate in 2004 and 2006 as a Republican under the name Throumoulos.

And under that name in 2007, he was convicted of stealing $18,000 in Clean Election funds from the 2004 Senate race, and of trying to steal a similar amount during the 2006 race.

''In order to qualify for that funding, he was required to submit 150 contributions from registered voters from that Senate district,'' said Jonathan Wayne, executive director of the ethics commission.

''Some of the people he claimed to have gotten $5 from, and the forms with their signatures some of these individuals were deceased.''

Wayne said Clean Election Act regulations were changed in response to Throumoulos' case and others, adding accountability measures and increasing the audits of expenditures.

Throumoulos also was convicted of forging signatures on petitions to obtain Clean Election funds. He was sentenced to four years in jail with all but 60 days suspended and three years of probation.

He also was ordered to pay $35 a month during his probation, was required to continue psychiatric counseling and was forbidden from possessing or circulating Clean Election fund petitions or related documents.

Throumoulos represented himself during his jury trial in York County Superior Court. He maintained his innocence, claiming to be the victim of a conspiracy in which a group of political operatives, working through several college students, was behind the forgeries.

In a phone interview Wednesday, Truman referred to what happened as a ''charade.''

''I was an innocent man then, and I'm an innocent man now,'' he said.

''If I wind up on the ballot, there's going to be some people who are not going to vote for me,'' he said. ''I just want to present myself as I am. That's the gamble I have to take.''

Truman said he spent six weeks in the York County Jail and paid $1,200 in restitution.

According to his gubernatorial nomination papers, Truman is running as a privately financed candidate.

He said he changed his name back to Truman recently because his father, whose last name was Throumoulos, had died and his siblings all had the name Truman.

The name change was unconnected with the conviction, he said.

Truman said he wants to run for governor because Mainers are facing difficult economic times, and ''I personally feel I can manage this government, as governor, better than any of the other candidates who have filed, or will.''

He said Maine's minimum wage should be raised from $7.25 an hour to $10 an hour.

And Truman said he is concerned that there are too many regulations and not enough incentives from government to persuade businesses to move to Maine.

''I don't feel anybody has taken the bull by the horns, had any business sense to sit down, enable business and corporations to come in and set up here,'' said Truman.

According to the Secretary of State's Office, no Maine laws bar convicted felons from running for governor.

Staff Writer Matt Wickenheiser can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:

mwickenheiser@pressherald.com

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