May 26, 2012

Overseers find no evidence of housing fraud

Legislators receive a report on the review by OPEGA of about $4.3 million in MaineHousing spending.

By John Richardson
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

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Accusations of misspending led Dale McCormick to resign her post as executive director of the Maine State Housing Authority in March.

Press Herald file photo

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Rep. David Burns, R-Whiting, agreed.

“The report did reveal to me some inappropriate behavior,” he said. “It’s an indication to me there was too much laxness.”

Democrats said the audit showed nothing inappropriate and that the donations were part of the housing authority’s effort to reach out to consumers.

“I don’t see anything here that alarms me. There’s a few housekeeping issues,” said Rep. Donald Pilon, D-Saco.

Sen. Nancy Sullivan, D-Biddeford, said the criticism gave a black eye to state government and McCormick and was unfounded. “The former director was put under the spotlight and sort of forced to resign. ... I’m disappointed that happened.”

Sen. Margaret Craven, D-Lewiston, said the report was a vindication for the housing authority and shows the attacks were politically motivated.

“I think it was definitely vindictive politics at its very worst,” she said. “Now we know the truth.”

Craven criticized Poliquin for helping to lead a smear campaign against a public official. “It’s astounding that Bruce Poliquin could get away with that type of behavior,” she said of the state treasurer.

Poliquin, who did not attend the meeting, said later that the report backed up some of the criticism he and others aimed at the authority.

“I’m pleased that apparently OPEGA has found no criminal wrongdoing. However, I’m very concerned that they have confirmed what the board has found. There have been a number of expenditures that are questionable in relation to Maine State Housing Authority’s mission.”

Peter Anastos, the housing authority’s board chairman, helped lead the criticism of McCormick. He said the report showed that McCormick was traveling too much and spending time on side projects.

“Was there fraud? No,” he said. “But were they out doing other things when they should have been taking care of business? Yes.”

Staff Writer John Richardson can be contacted at 791-6324 or at:

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