Former Gov. Paul LePage looks back at his wife, Ann LePage, as he kicks off his campaign at the Augusta Civic Center in September 2021.. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

The LePage campaign has rebutted a report published in The New York Times on Saturday claiming that the former Maine governor and current Republican gubernatorial nominee claimed property tax exemptions reserved for permanent residents of Florida while living in Maine.

The LePages, the newspaper reported, took advantage of the so-called homestead exemptions on their Ormond Beach, Florida, properties from 2009 to 2015 and again from 2018 through the end of this year, an arrangement the paper said saved them over $8,500.

But Brent Littlefield, Paul LePage’s political adviser, told the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram that the Florida properties in question were both owned only by the former governor’s wife, Ann LePage. Ann, he said, was in fact a permanent resident of the Sunshine State until earlier this year, Littlefield said, while her husband became a resident of Maine again last year.

“As they have done even when he was governor, Ann has spent a lot of time in Florida and Paul has not spent as much time in Florida,” Littlefield said. “That’s just how they’ve done things.”

Flagler County property tax records show the 3,865-square-foot Ormond Beach home is owned only by Ann LePage. A different Ormond Beach home the couple had between 2008 and 2017 was also owned only by Ann.

The arrangement, while unusual, would explain why Paul LePage could be running for governor of Maine and claiming a permanent residence at a rented home in Edgecomb while his wife was a Florida resident and claiming the homestead exemption there.


Shortly before the 2018 election to choose his replacement, Gov. LePage told an interviewer, “I’m going to retire and go to Florida. I’m done with politics. I’ve done my eight years. It’s time for somebody else.” By election day, Ann LePage had already bought a home in a gated private golf community in Ormond Beach. The couple sold their Boothbay home shortly thereafter. They both registered to vote in Florida and obtained driver’s licenses in that state.

Paul LePage switched his registration back to Maine in July 2020, posting pictures of himself changing the license plates on his car. Littlefield said Ann LePage became a Maine resident earlier this year as a sign of her commitment to potentially being Maine’s first lady again. The Times reported that Ann LePage informed a Florida property appraiser in June that they were no longer Florida residents.

“To me, it’s obviously an opposition research dump from political opponents – that’s clear,” Littlefield said.

The former governor financially benefited from the homestead exemption arrangement. The mortgage on the Ormond Beach property is in both his and Ann’s names.

LePage is running for a third non-consecutive term against incumbent Democratic Gov. Janet Mills. The Mills campaign blasted LePage for his family’s tax-and-residency strategy.

“It’s an absolute disgrace that Paul LePage is taking advantage of a tax break reserved for residents of Florida while serving as – and then running for – governor of Maine, all while he tried to deny that same tax break to Maine people,” said campaign spokesperson Mary Erin Casale via email​, referring to LePage’s 2017 proposal to eliminate Maine’s homestead exemption for people under age 65.

“Gov. Mills fought to deliver bipartisan property tax relief for Maine people,” Casale said. “Paul LePage fought to help himself and hurt Maine people. That’s a new low, even for him.”

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