According to a detailed report in the Bangor Daily News, petition circulators were hired in the state of Maine to gather signatures to try and bring another casino to the state. These individuals have finished their work but now accusations of how the signatures were obtained are being thrown about and circulators are claiming they were not paid for work completed.
Two circulators who were hired to gather names in Androscoggin County have stated that they were not paid for the work, despite being promised that they would be paid on Wednesday of last week. An additional five circulators are also claiming they have not been paid for work. The two circulators of Androscoggin County also claim they circulated petitions without the registered Maine voter, a required witness that is supposed to tag along during the petition signing process.
After the individuals came forward claiming they had yet to be paid, Cheryl Timberlake, the campaign treasurer, stated that the individuals were not paid yet as their work had yet to be validated. One circulator was so upset over not being paid that police had to issue a no trespass and cease harassment notice against him as he threatened to harm Timberlake at her office.
Olympic Consulting was hired by Harness Racing Jobs Fairness to try and see a casino or slot gaming facility brought to the York County area. The company, which is owned and operated by Stavros Mendros a former lawmaker, was hired to gather signatures to try and bring about a casino referendum to voters for the November ballot.
The deadline for signatures to be submitted to the Secretary of the State is the 1st of February and the company was paid $111,935 to complete the task. $67,000 of this amount was to be paid to the circulators who gathered the signatures.
It was soon after the signature campaign started that circulators began to allege issues. Florida resident John Merchant was hired by the company to gather signatures, promised by Mendros as much as $10 per signature. Merchant had his round-trip airfare paid for by Mendros to Maine as well as hotel bill paid for until January 15th. It was at that point Mendros stopped paying the bill.
Merchant states he was paid $1,600 on the 11th of January, a check that was written by the personal account of Mendros’. The check was soon returned for nonpayment. Merchant also received two additional checks from Mendros’ which was for $1,350 and $930. The first is dated the 13th of January and the second for the 20th but Merchant has not cashed these yet.
Merchant believes he is owed $5,400 plus the $467 in hotel charges that were not paid while he remained at the hotel. Merchant contacted Timberlake on the matter, threatening to go to the media about not being paid. Timberlake claims that Merchant is not entitled to payment until his petitions have been validated with proof that the signatures were witnessed by a Maine registered voter. Once Olympic Consulting conducts the proof process, Merchant will be paid, according to Timberlake.
Merchant left the details of how he was accused of harassment by Timberlake with the Sun Journal and the news outlet has since received more information from additional circulators who had not been paid.