According to Paul Violette’s attorney, the former MTA Director has pleaded guilty to a felony theft charge under a plea agreement with the AG’s office.
Former Maine Turnpike Authority Director Paul Violette has been charged with felony theft according to the Attorney General’s office.
The felony charge stems from Violette’s illegal use of Turnpike funds for travel, meals and other expenses. Violette was the long-time head of the MTA, having controlled the quasi-governmental agency for 23 years before his resignation last year.
The Turnpike and it’s leader came under fire after an Office of Program and Fiscal Accountability report that noted some questionable spending and contracting practices. Additional reports from The Maine Heritage Policy Center showed huge increases in salaries and inappropriate, non-mission related, spending at the Authority.
The OPEGA investigation that followed the initial report led to the discovery of massive misuse of funds by Violette, including public money used for personal luxurious travel expenses including hotel stays in Maine, Florida, Canada, Bermuda and France, among other travel destinations. Violette purchased thousands of dollars in gift cards for upscale hotels and restaurants, many of which he used himself, while giving away others to “civil and charitable” organizations.
The felony theft charge carries a maximum penalty of up to 10 years in prison.