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Lewiston casino PACs, leaders face secrecy allegations

10/8/2013

State campaign regulators believe two men who formed political action committees to support a 2011 campaign for allowing a casino in Lewiston falsely reported sources of campaign funding in order to mislead the public.
The Sun Journal reported memos from the state’s Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices detail the investigation into contributions to two PACs led by Stavros Mendros and Peter Robinson. Regulators say both stood to make millions on a Lewiston casino. Regulators also found that the two political action groups — Green Jobs for ME and People of Lewiston-Auburn — reported $412,000 in contributions from one Georgia-based corporate donor, GT Source, but received no funds from that company.
Instead, regulators found that the actual contributions from the PAC totaled $388,000 from two Maryland companies and an Oklahoma businessman who had incorporated M5 LLC in Maine. Mendros told the paper that M5 had been formed to negotiate a contract for operating the casino if voters approved the plan. He said he was unaware of campaign contributions by M5. Regulators found that GT Source CEO Dwayne Graham was also a primary shareholder of M5.
Mark Walker, the attorney for Mendros and Robinson, argued in a letter to the ethics commission that his clients did not knowingly violate the state’s campaign finance laws. The commission plans to release documents related to the case today on its website.
Regulators have recommended civil penalties of $32,500 for the two political action committee. That recommendation will be heard before the ethics commission on Oct. 16.