Maine Gov. Paul LePage Is An A-Hole, Chapter Eleventeen Billion
It's not personal. It's only business.
As we all know, Maine Gov. Paul Lepage is a hateful asshat who runs on a diet of pure bile and boiled orphans. So it wasn't a huge surprise when he was alleged to have threatened state funding for a school for at-risk kids after it hired one of LePage's political enemies, state House speaker Mark Eves, a Democrat. The school, Good Will-Hinckley School, in Hinckley, Maine, compliantly withdrew its job offer just a week before Eves was supposed to start teaching there, Eves went to the press and the courts, and pretty soon the state Legislature was talking about impeaching the governor, only a few months into his second term. On Thursday, in testimony before the Government Oversight Committee, which is investigating the firing, the chairman of Good Will-Hinckley, Jack Moore, confirmed that LePage had threatened the school's state funding, which placed the school's ability to operate in jeopardy:
"Throughout this process we were focused on fulfilling our fiduciary duties,” Moore said. “We could not have been doing that by going down the road to a series of defaults that could put Good Will-Hinckley in question. It would have been imprudent for us to just wait for the chips to fall.”
Had the school lost state funding, he explained, then other funders would have dropped some $2 million in grants to the school, which were conditional on state support. And so Good Will-Hinckley cancelled its $120,000-a-year contract with Eves. LePage hasn't even denied that he "leveraged" state funding to get the job cancelled, largely because Eves opposes LePage's commitment to charter schools. And like the best of jerks who believe they're untouchable, LePage even put the threats in writing:
Moore said that in addition to a handwritten note from LePage that called Eves a “hack,” which Moore said he threw away, and a formal letter written by the governor in early June, communications to the board’s interim president raised a major “red flag” about the funding.
“The red flag came from our interim president, Richard Abramson, who did get a call or a direct communication from the governor,” Moore said. “We felt if we didn’t have the funding, that could very potentially trigger a series of events that could conceivably result in the school closing down. That is why as fiduciaries we as a board took the steps that we did.”
Nobody has ever accused Paul LePage of excessive subtlety, after all.
The investigation continues; Bangor Daily News reporter Chris Cousins tweeted that the committee voted 8-3 Thursday to subpoena LePage aides Cynthia Montgomery and Aaron Chadborne, although one state Senator, David Burns, said that he doubted the panel would learn anything new, and that the Good Will-Hinckley Board of Directors "should have known what would happen" after deciding to hire Eves. That's a pretty compelling argument in LePage's defense -- why would you go and hire a political enemy of the governor when you KNOW he's a vindictive jerk?
Gov. LePage offered in August to resign if "enough" Maine voters told him that they wanted him to go, but apparently he has either not been reading his mail or is quite certain that not enough Mainers have weighed in on the matter.
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