Lisa Scott Withdraws from Maine Casino Referendum Campaign

Oxford Casino Maine

Shawn Scott helped Oxford Casino get started, but it’s now owned by Churchill Downs, which opposes a new Maine casino.

Lisa Scott, a Miami real estate developer, withdrew from a Maine casino campaign amidst scrutiny of her funding. Asked by the Maine Ethics Commission to reveal her funding sources, Lisa Scott chose to end her role in the casino development plan.

The Maine Ethics Commission recently voted 5-0 to investigate the funding sources for the $4.3 million provided for a casino referendum campaign. A petition drive was underway to get a casino proposal on the November 7 ballot.

Jonathan Wayne: Probe to Continue

The commission’s Executive Director, Jonathan Wayne, said his panel was unaware of Mrs. Scott’s decision prior to its vote on Wednesday morning. Director Wayne said the decision would have no bearing on an impending investigation into her source of funding.

One of the key actions in the probe so far was a subpoena sent to two companies associated with Shawn Scott, who is Lisa Scott’s brother. Shawn Scott also was the man who led a successful Maine casino development campaign in 2002 for the Oxford Casino.

Who Paid for the Signature Drive?

The question is whether Lisa Scott reported her financing accurately and on time. Due to the nature of the investigation into Shawn Scott’s businesses, Bridge Capital and Capital Seven, some wonder whether Shawn Scott received foreign financing to fund the PACs behind the signature drive. At the very least, that appears to be an angle the ethic commission is following.

Jonathan Wayne told the Portland Press Herald, “One of the compliance issues is whether Lisa Scott filed accurate and complete campaign finance reports on time.”

What is certain is that Shawn Scott’s companies loaned millions of dollars to Lisa Scott’s Miami development company, which in turned loaned money to the casino project’s political action committee.

Lisa Scott’s Lawyers Question Documents Requests

Brad Merrill, the lawyer for Lisa Scott, questioned why the Maine Ethics Commission had asked for certain documents. Merrill said in a hearing, “I really think it gets to the point of the overbreadth where the commission is asking for records that have nothing to do with this initiative. I don’t understand why another business venture that (Miami Development Corp.) would be involved in would in any way be relevant to this initiative.

“That’s why I’ve made the objection to turning over records that have to do with her other business ventures that clearly are not related in any way shape or form to the casino initiative that we are dealing with here.”

Nass Accuses Lawyers of Stalling

Merrill’s combativeness seemed to cause frustration among certain members of the ethnics commission. In the Wednesday hearing, Commissioner Richard Nass suggested that lawyers for some of the companies being investigated had ulterior motives for keeping the campaign mired in controversy.

Suggesting some of the lawyers wanted everyone kept in the dark and confused, Nass said, “Somebody’s got $4.3 million on the line here. And it’s really not in your interests to let this go any further, if you can clear it up.”

Regent Able’s Mysterious Origins

The commissioners’ frustration appears to come from more than the give-and-take of a hearing. Their investigations appear to be hampered by an inability to get proper documentation on some of the petition movement’s foreign financing.¬†One company appears to be a complete mystery to the commissioners.

Regent Able Associate Co paid $1 million to help the casino initiative. The Ethics Commission has been unable to subpoena its information, because it has not been able to determine where the company’s headquarters is. Commissoner Wayne said the company’s location has been traced to “someplace in Asia”.

Question 1 on Maine Ballot

If the petition campaign is successful, then the casino issue would be Question No. 1 on the November ballot. The wording of the referendum is careful to leave out any mention of Shawn Scott. Question 1 states, “Do you want to allow a certain out-of-state company to operate table games and/or slot machines in York County, subject to state and local approval, with part of the profits going to specific programs?”

Elsewhere in the amendment, it stipulates that Shawn Scott’s company is the only one which can be identified as “a certain out-of-state company”. Critics of the referendum believe the word is deceptive.