2013-11-27: Paul Violette, 23 years the chief executive at the Maine Turnpike and a former president of IBTTA, is being released from jail today after serving 20 months of a 3.5 year sentence for years of living high off the Turnpike.
"Poor management" of the Maine Turnpike occurred under the former chief executive Paul Violette, according to the state governor Paul LePage. In an interview with the Bangor Daily News the governor said: "There are good reasons why Paul Violette is gone and we put in Peter Mills to run the turnpike."
Actually it wasn't his management that caused Violette to "go," though perhaps it should have been.
When wrongdoing surfaces and the bad guy says he's sorry you're usually tempted to the cynical "Sure you're sorry, you are sorry you got caught." But in the case of Paul Violette, the longtime CEO of the Maine Turnpike, that's plain wrong. The guy gives every indication of genuine remorse, of feeling very bad about what he did, not just that he was caught.
Paul Violette was sentenced today to an effective three and a half years in jail followed by 1,500 hours of 'community service' for his misappropriation of an estimated $150,000 to $230,000 over the last six years of his term as executive-director. Violette lost his job over the issue and has agreed in settlement of a civil suit by the Turnpike to repay it to the full extent of his net worth. The jailing comes on top of that.
Paul: sorry to hear your continuing legal problems. I thought that you were plain dumb the way you handled the southern toll plaza issue. And of course I wrote that. You completely underestimated some smart and quite reasonable critics down in York - plus their experienced industry consultant - with your stubbornness in insisting on the flashy new ORT+cash toll plaza.
Friday Paul Violette, for 23 years chief executive of the Maine Turnpike, pled guilty to stealing between $150,000 and $230,000 between 2003 and 2010, telling a judge that he'd accept up to five years jail as the penalty. Violette misused his Turnpike credit card and gift cards and charged large amounts of personal recreation, travel, hotel accommodation and meals to the Turnpike. He also took cash advances and charged bogus unused leave.
Paul Violette's lawyer says the longtime head of the Maine Turnpike is prepared to plead guilty to charges by the state attorney-general of thievery amounting to some $10,000 so long as the state doesn't ask for more than five years in jail - an eight year sentence with five years to be served. The charges carry a maximum of ten years served in jail.
His lawyer says he wants to "get this behind him."
Paul Violette, the 23-year executive director of the Maine Turnpike now has a criminal charge to face - felony theft of gift cards, travel, meals and other personal indulgences on the Turnpike's account. The AP is reporting this from the state attorney-general's office. A spokesman is quoted as saying the charge specifies thievery of "more than $10,000."
Apparently Violette is pleading guilty.
Ex-chief Paul Violette hit with racketeering lawsuit from his Maine Turnpike - over half million $s soughtBy Peter Samuel on July 20, 2011
Former chief executive (CEO) of the Maine Turnpike Authority Paul E Violette was today hit with a lawsuit demanding repayment of about half a million dollars it alleges that he cost them in alleged fraud and abuse between 2003 and 2011. Violette, a former Democrat Party politician was CEO at the state Turnpike from 1988 until March this year when he was forced to resign by a scandal unearthed by a legislative oversight agency.
Investigators say up to $185k of Maine 'pike-paid gift cards redeemed for his personal use - Violette headed for jail?By Peter Samuel on April 16, 2011
Paul Violette, former chief executive of the Maine Turnpike and an IBTTA president, now seems certain to face criminal charges, and could well be headed for jail.