One of my favorite supporting characters in the timeless sitcom “Seinfeld” was Dr. Tim Whatley, Jerry Seinfeld’s dentist.

And one of my favorite episodes was the time Whatley decided to become a Jew, just like Jerry, and thus could tell Jewish jokes with reckless abandon because, you know, he was talking about his own people.

Jerry wasn’t amused …

Jerry: Tim, do you think you should be making jokes like that?

Tim: Why not? I’m Jewish. Remember?

Jerry: I know, but …

Tim: Jerry, it’s our sense of humor that sustained us as a people for 3,000 years.

Jerry: Five-thousand.

Tim: Even better! OK, Chrissie (his technician), give me a schtickle of fluoride.

Which brings us to Shawn Scott.

Last week, as I drove home from an interview in Bangor, I listened to a radio debate on Maine Public’s “Maine Calling” between Scott, the driving force behind Maine’s fast approaching casino referendum, and state Rep. Louis Luchini, D-Ellsworth, one of the many and varied civic leaders dead-set against the proposal.

Much of the back-and-forth was painfully familiar – Scott making promises that Question 1 in no way obligates him to keep; Luchini hammering away at Scott’s history of winning the exclusive right to a casino license, only to “flip” it for untold millions of dollars and vanish into thin air.


But here’s what really bugged me: Throughout the hourlong discussion, Scott repeatedly used the words “we” and “our” when referring to Maine’s citizenry.

Like he’s one of “us.”

Except he’s not.

Referring to the massive casino now under construction just north of Boston, Scott warned, “If we stand on the sidelines and let Boston take our money and our jobs, they’ll be very difficult (to recover), if we ever get them back at all.”

He later echoed, “We’re going to see our tourism dollars and our jobs and our tax revenue get diverted” to Boston.

Regarding a report commissioned by the state Legislature in 2014 on Maine’s gambling future, Scott said: “It’s a great report. It’s done by experts. It tells us what we should do.”


Noting that states like Idaho and Montana have similar populations but way more casinos than Maine, he lamented, “We’ve been left behind with this economic development.”

Speaking of the Hollywood Casino Hotel & Raceway in Bangor, Scott crowed, “We’re the same people who developed the Bangor approval process and got that off to what it became today.”

Note the words “developed the Bangor approval process.” No mention of developing the actual casino because, by the time that happened, Scott had sold his licensing rights to Penn National Gaming for $51 million and was long gone.

At least that’s the way it looked to most Mainers. The way Scott told it last week: “We’ve been here nearly 20 years. We’ve invested in Maine. We’ve created jobs in Maine. And we’ve created tax revenue in Maine. And that’s our plan to do in York County.”

It was enough for Jennifer Rooks, the “Maine Calling” host, to turn to Luchini and say, “Louie, you don’t believe him, do you?”

Replied Luchini, “I don’t.”


Nor should anyone who actually calls Maine home.

Listening to Scott wrap himself repeatedly in the mantle of all things Dirigo – “I was just up (in Bangor) the other day. I’ve been up there several times just in the last few months” – I found myself actually talking back to the radio.

“Where were you last spring, when Maine lawmakers struggled to peel back the layers of political action committees to figure out who was pumping money into Question 1 and the closest they could get to you was your sister, who lives in Florida?” I muttered.

And, more to the point, “Why, oh why, doesn’t someone ask where you actually live?”

Then it happened. Reading from a listener tweet, Rooks asked, “Where does Mr. Scott live? He didn’t answer that.”



“I live in Saipan,” Scott replied. “It’s a U.S. territory next to Guam and some of the proud things we have there is we have one of the highest per capita enlistment for joining and serving in the military. It’s like small town, like any small town in the U.S., a very tight-knit community and it’s a great place.”

It’s also, according to Google Maps, almost 8,000 miles from Maine.

With a population of just over 48,000, it’s hardly like “any small town in America.”

And as for it being a great place, that may be true in Scott’s neck of the palm groves. But the rest of the island has a history of human trafficking and exploitation of immigrant labor dating back at least two decades.

But we digress. Shawn Scott can live wherever he and his outsized bank account please – provided that he not trade his floral-print shirt for an L.L. Bean barn jacket whenever it’s politically and financially expedient for him to suddenly become one of “us.”

The simple truth is that Scott’s interest in Maine begins and ends with the almighty dollar. Our dollars.


He may say he loves this place.

He might cobble together a cadre of Mainers willing to do his bidding. (Note to Andrew Ketterer, former Maine attorney general and member of the state ethics commission: Has Scott truly paid you $150,000 thus far for “legal services”? Or might it perhaps be for your roots and your resume?)

Scott may even spend the next eight days shaking as many Mainers’ hands as he can and promising them that “we” are all in this together.

But the man is not, never has been and never will be a Mainer.

Just as Tim Whatley converted to Judaism for the jokes, Shawn Scott’s sudden love for the first person plural is more than just a grammatical slip.

It’s a calculated con job, a see-through attempt to convince all of Maine that he’s in this thing at least as much for “us” as he is for himself.


It just ain’t true, folks.

And any Mainer with a schtickle of common sense knows it.

Bill Nemitz can be contacted at:

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