June 16, 2011

LePage never saw mural; seeks dismissal of complaint

By John Richardson jrichardson@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

BANGOR — Gov. Paul LePage never personally saw the labor mural he ordered removed from Maine's Department of Labor in March, according to a document filed in federal court today.

The document was filed in U.S. District Court in Bangor by the Attorney General's Office in response to a lawsuit seeking to reverse LePage's decision and re-hang the mural. The stipulation is a set of facts agreed to by both the state and the plaintiffs, a group of citizens who want the mural brought back.

The stipulation says that while LePage never saw the painting; his senior economic adviser, John Butera, had seen it and considered it to be "pro-labor and anti-business."

LePage made the decision to remove the mural after getting an anonymous written complaint that it was one-sided and similar to North Korean brainwashing.

In a separate filing today, Gov. LePage formally asked the court to dismiss the case.

There are no First Amendment rights to view the mural in that location, it says. "Neither the facts, the law nor common sense support Plaintiffs' claims," it says.

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