Paul Coulombe's Mysterious Relationship With The Press
A hidden Pay-To-Play past revolved around negotiations made on the golf course.
Events have continued to evolve around the Working Waterfront Park. An article in the Boothbay Register titled Series of responses to CEO’s BHWP notice of violation tells that the Code Enforcement Officer of Boothbay Harbor Geoff Smith issued a stop work order against the Park, alleging the Park did not have a series of permits.
Shortly thereafter the Boothbay Harbor Waterfront Preservation Board of Directors published a commentary in the Register with their own timeline of occurring events. titled Why is the Eastside Waterfront Park not open? The Park says that all the permits that The Code Enforcement Officer says they do not have were reviewed by the Shoreland Zoning compliance prior to site plan approval in 2020 which the Code Enforcement Officer saw and that the Park and Marina Building Permit that is currently under appeal is completely unnecessary and redundant to the approved 2020 site plan.
The Park presents facts and records but the Code Enforcement Officer rests on his authority, alone. Fortunately, a recently proposed amendment to Town Article 25 that would have taken away hearing residents’ appeals of decisions of the Code Enforcement Officer and the Planning Board was defeated at the ballot box.
In the comments to the Park’s commentary, Paul Coulombe asserts that everything said by the board is a lie, without attempting to justify his assertion.
The controversy rather than the stop work order is the subject of the Boothbay Register story. The optics do not look good for Code Enforcement Officer Geoff Smith. His story does not line up with facts on record and statements made by the Working Waterfront Park’s lawyer. The Park’s claim that they are being asked to have their permits approved repeatedly is convincing. Giving the Park the benefit of the doubt, the question is why is Mr. Smith playing the role he has chosen?
A curiously well-kept secret
A curiously well-kept secret is that when Mr. Coulombe sold White Rock Distilleries, he did not do so out of choice but because that was the legal agreement he made to get off with a two million dollar fine in a pay-to-play lawsuit in Pennsylvania. Mr. Coloumbe walked away with 600 million dollars while the public official who took the bribe lost his pension. Furthermore, the legal proceedings regarding the play-to-pay agreement have been in the works without any media coverage since Mr. Coulombe bought the Boothbay Country Club.
There are very few sources that actually name names in the suit against White Rock Distilleries. However, the article shown above names Paul Coulombe. If you click on the link, you might find that it does not stay visible for long, (code is mysteriously added to link address after a few seconds) so be prepared to save as a webpage quickly. In all of the stories written about the Pay-to-Play case, this is the only one, I found that names names beyond the Company names, identifying Paul Coulombe.
This Justice.Gov link mentions only company names.
The legal agreement was signed on June 28. 2017 . It states that The practice of providing things of value and services continued until approximately the spring of 2012, when the Company agreed to sell its assets to another national company and ceased active operation in the industry.
While the Company does not admit that the conduct in the Statement of Facts violates federal or state criminal law, the Company recognizes and acknowledges that the facts described in the attached Statement of Facts establish a pattern of things of value to public officials which, had they been given in quid pro quo exchange for official decisions, would have constituted violations of federal law, specifically honest services bribes and kickbacks (18 U.S.C. §§1341, 1343, 1346). source: legal agreement signed on June 28. 2017
In the years that Mr. Coulombe has been on the Peninsuala with the intent to transform the Peninsuala in his own image, his image has been uniformly whitewashed by the press, making it appear as if Mr, Coulombe sold White Wash Distilleries simply because he wanted to retire and all the while the court case and non-prosecution agreement was still under development until it was concluded in 2017.
Mr, Coulombe’s Philanthropists Profile in Maine Magazine dated 2015 merely states “When he retired, he got involved in the Southport community. “
Coulombe’s reason for selling White Rock Distilleries is also absent from Digital Global Times biography that describes Coulombe as “a successful entrepreneur is based in Maine and is worth $60 million”, Why was he so successful? Because he payed to play! In today’s world, the end, alone, is the measure of success. The means to the end is easily whitewashed away.
Even the Maine Monitor, known for research journalism, “for the public interest” whitewashed Coulombe’s means to financial success:
The Lewiston native’s wealth comes from the sale of White Rock Distilleries, the business that his family purchased in 1971, when son Paul was a teenager. According to his profile on the University of Maine site (he’s a 1975 grad and was class president) the Coulombe family “built White Rock into a major industry player through acquisitions, expansion and the development of new technologies.” (emphasis by author) source
Yes, and pay-to-play had nothing to do with it.
Meanwhile, the legal drama over Pay-to-Play was still being worked out, outside of the media spotlight, in the year 2017 and the center stage of the drama is the golf course.
* A Capital manager came up with the idea of an "Alliance Golf Open," according to the Ethics Commission, "as a means by which Capital Wine and Spirits and the Alliance suppliers could strengthen their relationship with the PLCB and to allow various Alliance senior management officials to have 'face time' with PLCB officials." The "Open" was held three years in a row; it was cancelled when people got wind of the Ethics Commission investigation.
* How could a public employee not realize that this golf "tournament" was something he shouldn't attend? Yet Short, so far the only person charged, was not the only PLCB employee to attend: the chairman and the CEO, who were appointed by the governor, also played. Don't they know better? Geez.
While all of that legal dealing over White Rock’s pay-to-play scandals is going down, unreported in the media, Paul Coulombe is taking advantage of the Maine DOT”s legalized pay-to-play terms of the agreement to rearrange the center of Boothbay to his liking through the construction of the notorious roundabout, which will eventually recreate the Boothbay Center with Paul Coulomb’s country club as its central focus, with Paul Coulombe styled road decor wrapping ribbons around the Town Common and the Town Office. What message is within the new landscaping of our Town Center? Town Officials are in the loop?
Paul Coulombe makes no bones about his intention to bulldoze over the Peninsula’s historical past and replace it with “the new” all built to his taste.
In another recent letter to the Register, Be part of the solution, Steven Lorrain Chairman, Board of Trustees, of the B.E.C. Committee, directly addresses me over my concerns about the dark money funding of the 2.5 million dollar cost of the architectural design of an eighty million dollar school, which, to my knowledge was first proposed by Paul Coulombe. Mr. Coulombe volunteered to come up with donors to fund the architectural design and that is as much as the public knows about the identity of the funders.
Mr. Lorrain writes:
“Dark Money” is her term, not mine. The is no dark money, only money! The final pricing hasn’t even been determined. That is because the design isn’t finished. We went so far as to get a second opinion as to the condition of the schools. So, two for the price of two … would that have been good use of taxpayer money? But good use of her dark money?
Being informed means to take the time to attend the meetings, add your input. Let’s have the discussion.
One question – would you be willing to drive a bus off the peninsula? We can’t find enough bus drivers as it is for our current needs. Be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
I didn’t go into the details about why I do not think it is appropriate to have meetings about the design of a school prior to the ballot initiative wherein the public gets to decide if they want to take such a direction, but I did welcome the opportunity to explain that “dark money” is not my personal term, but is a widely used term, quoting from Dark Money Basics on OpenSecrets.org
Dark money is anonymous money used to influence ballot initiatives which is what we have in the case of the architectural design with the last three updates continually and exclusively featured in the Boothbay Register’s “Spotlight” section, habitually at the top of the Home Page. These reports are not identified as paid advertising but it smells like it and function as such for a future ballot initiative. It is undoubtedly media coverage due to an anonymously funded architectural design for a single option choice for the future of education on the Boothbay Peninsula. Other options are not part of the conversation- except for the fact that Mr. Lorraine responded to my suggestion of the option of building such a school in a more regionally-centric location so that costs and benefits could be shared by a larger community. Mr. Lorrain’s retort is “Yeah Right! Try to find a bus driver!” I suggested a limousine service instead but money could also be saved by paying a bus driver competitively well, which would not come close to 77 million dollars in the cost of building such a school on this Penisula because we do not believe we can find a bus driver to transport the students to a more regionally centric location. By that argument, we could pay the bus driver one million dollars a year, and still, it would be cost savings.
If Mr.Lorraine knew Mr. Coulomb’s reason for selling White Rock Distilleries, would he be more concerned about the hidden identities of the funders of the architectural design for the school, or would he continue to brush it aside?
After Note: Once the Boothbay Waterfront Park published its own timeline of events. I perceived that I misunderstood the timeline of the delivery of the DEP letter that reversed the initial opinion but at the same time the Waterfront Park’s timeline reasonably supports the supposition that the original opinion issued by the DEP was based on allegations made by the Doyles, this based on the fact that the DEP weighed in without even knowing what had been approved by the Planning Board or why.
Mackenzie Andersen's The Individual vs The Empire! is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.