Tuesday, March 11, 2014
By BETTY ADAMS Kennebec Journal
BANGOR – In February 2011, Carole Swan told former Chelsea Selectwoman Tanya Condon, "Frank turned the tables on me."
Staff photo by Betty Adams
Swan and Condon were sitting in Swan's sister's car and Swan told Condon that Whitefield contractor Frank Monroe "was screwing the town over."
"I remember thinking in my head, 'This is going to be a mess,' and I tuned it out," Condon testified Tuesday in U.S. District Court.
Swan, 55, is being tried on multiple fraud charges.
Condon's testimony introduced extortion claims that are not part of Swan's trial, but U.S. District Chief Judge John A. Woodcock Jr. ruled Tuesday over objections by defense attorney Leonard Sharon that the jury can hear them.
Woodcock said the prosecutor is entitled to present evidence Swan accepted $3,000 and $7,000 payments from Monroe in 2010 and that she failed to report that as income on her federal tax return, as well as the fact she was able to earn money while claiming on federal workers' compensation forms that she was unable to work.
"The government has to be able to put out to the jury the circumstances under which she received that money," Woodcock said, adding, "It's clearly admissible."
He also acknowledged it would be difficult for Sharon to put Swan's version of events in front of the jury if she opts not to testify.
Condon testified that "Carole looked, in my opinion drained – physically and emotionally drained" during the 2011 conversation.
Condon said Swan's sister, Kelly McLaughlin, who was also Condon's friend and neighbor, drove Swan to Condon's home that February, and they sat in the car and talked for 15 or 20 minutes. Condon, like Swan, had been a Chelsea selectwoman. Condon quit in December 2010 after 18 months.
"The cost to my family was too high," she testified.
Swan maintains she was conducting a solo sting to gather evidence Monroe was demanding kickbacks. However, Monroe had contacted law enforcement agents, who recorded Swan demanding a $10,000 kickback from him and then confronted her as she collected it.
Monroe is among the last of the prosecution's 120-plus witnesses and is expected to testify Wednesday.
Earlier Tuesday, former Chelsea Town Manager Carrie Khalvati testified that her concerns about giving town road work to Marshall Swan, Swan's husband, were waved off.
"I was told that was not an issue," Khalvati said. "I was told over a period of time by the (select) board that this is the way things were done."
Charges against Swan include income tax falsification, lying on forms to collect federal workers' compensation and defrauding a program receiving federal money involving a major culvert repair project on Windsor Road, done by Marshall Swan Construction, in 2007.
As Khalvati's testimony continued, the prosecutor, Assistant U.S. Attorney Donald Clark, showed her documents that Chelsea paid Marshall Swan Construction almost $214,000 in 2009, a year when Khalvati was town manager.
"I am surprised at this amount," testified Khalvati, who held the job from October 2008 to early 2010.
Khalvati testified she tried and failed to get a road committee formed so more townspeople could be involved in setting a road maintenance schedule.
She also said she failed in her attempts to lower the $10,000 threshold for putting town projects out to bid.
Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at: