Maine Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Aroostook) has remained silent this week in the face of mortgage records, insurance records, and court documents unearthed by the Maine Wire that suggest the top Democrat may have supplied false information to mortgage companies, insurance companies, the State Legislature, and the Maine Ethics Commission.
Joining him in this radio silence? The panoply of left-wing newspapers recently acquired by a national non-profit that has as its mission the preservation of quality non-partisan local news.
The “National Trust for Local News” acquired several Masthead Media properties earlier this year after former owner Reade Brower announced his intention to offload the newspapers.
The newly acquired papers include the Portland Press Herald, as well as the other website domains that repost and reprint the company’s content.
Although the Maine Attorney General’s Office and the Maine Ethics Commission have both said they are reviewing Jackson’s predicament, as of this writing, none of the papers have posted or printed a single article concerning the scandal.
Only the Bangor Daily News and WGME have covered the story, and even their stories have barely scratched the details of the problems facing Jackson.
Immediately following the acquisition, representatives from the new Maine news conglomeration said they would disclose the identities of the individuals or entities who facilitated the purchase.
They have yet to do so.
However, the website for the Trust lists organizations linked to left-wing billionaire mega donors, including George Soros and Pierre Omidyar.
According to emails reviewed by the Maine Wire, reporters from outlets controlled by the left-wing Trust have been CC’d on press releases and media statements from the Maine Republican Party and several Maine Republicans for several days.
But the media blackout continues.
The lack of coverage on a story of massive significance for Maine politics and one of Maine’s most powerful political figures would seem to confirm that Maine’s largest media outlet will not be a “news” organization but will instead be a political organ of left-wing organizations in Maine.
Jackson’s Political and Legal Problems Summarized
Jackson’s legal and political dilemmas stem from a Sept. 2019 mortgage contract the lawmaker signed for the purchase of an Augusta house, and a lawsuit he subsequently filed against the sellers of the house.
The mortgage agreement Jackson used to purchase his second home in Augusta was a Federal House Authority (FHA) loan.
Unlike standard mortgages, FHA loans are insured by a federally managed trust. Because lenders take on less risk, they can offer lower interest rates with less money down upfront.
The purpose of the FHA program is to help low-income people afford first homes. So the program requires that the buyer agree to make the home their primary residence, and this is a requirement that is strictly enforced.
The requirement, which Jackson agreed to when he signed the mortgage document, conflicts with his requirement under the Maine Constitution to keep his primary residence in his State Senate District.
Whether Jackson has kept his primary address in Allagash or Augusta doesn’t really absolve him entirely of the political and legal problems he’s facing.
If he kept his primary address in Allagash, then he has violated the terms of his FHA mortgage contract.
If he changed his primary address to Augusta, then he has violated his constitutional obligation to reside in his district.
While that violation is unlikely to cause him trouble in and of itself, it could present a problem for the senator if the Maine Ethics Commission decides that he inappropriately obtained taxpayer funds for his political campaigns.
It could also present a problem if the State Legislature finds that he inappropriately reimbursed himself for travel to the State House from Allagash and back while actually living in Augusta.
Jackson has obtained more than $65,000 in taxpayer funding for his political campaigns based on filings that assert he was living in Allagash.
During the time when Jackson owned a home 2.1 miles from the State House and later rented an apartment in Augusta, he received more more than $80,000 in reimbursements through the legislature — more than any other lawmaker — and much of that was based on the premise that he was commuting regularly between Allagash and Augusta.
Jackson, in his only public comment on his legal problems since the story broke, said through a spokeswoman that he has always lived in Allagash and has never lived in Augusta.
That comment, if true, is an on-the-record admission that Jackson did not comply with the FHA loan requirement.
Whether Jackson established his permanent residence in Augusta or Allagash also has no bearing on whether the lawmaker provided false information to his homeowners insurance company for a claim related to his house in Augusta.
In the lawsuit he filed against the sellers of the home in 2020, Jackson said that significant water damage, mold, and carpenter ant damage was present in the home prior to September 2019.
Later, in January 2021, he filed an insurance claim asserting that some of those damages occurred in that month.
If Travelers, his insurance company, decides that he submitted false information for that insurance claim, Jackson could face a lawsuit alleging insurance fraud — regardless of where he lives or has lived over the past three years.
One problem Jackson doesn’t have to worry about?
Curiosity or scrutiny from Maine’s largest pro-Democrat media conglomeration.
Read the original Maine Wire investigative report into Senate President Jackson’s lawsuit and legal problems here: Maine Senate President Troy Jackson Locked in Bitter Legal Fight Over Augusta Home He Bought – and Moved Into – in 2019