Maine Senate President Troy Jackson (D-Allagash) claimed Thursday morning that he never read the Federal Housing Authority (FHA)-backed loan agreement he signed that required him to make a second house in Augusta his primary residence — a requirement the top Democratic lawmaker now says he never satisfied.
“This is unfortunate, but I never really read the forms,” Jackson told the liberal Portland Press Herald.
Jackson said that he paid his mortgage broker “a lot of money” and then trusted that the broker was properly advising him on the legality of using an FHA loan to purchase the North Belfast Avenue home in Sept. of 2019.
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The top lawmaker’s official residence and his purchase of the Augusta house have come under statewide scrutiny following reporting by the Maine Wire that revealed the lawmaker bought the house in 2019 and later sued the sellers.
Jackson and his longtime girlfriend, Lana Pelletier, remain locked in bitter litigation with Paul and Jane Godbout, the couple who sold them the home.
Jackson and Pelletier alleged in a 2020 suit that the Godbouts illegally withheld information about defects with the house, including carpenter ant damage and mold issues, prior to the sale.
The Godbouts have denied those allegations.
Although Jackson was legally required under the terms of the FHA agreement to make the Augusta house his primary residence, he has now said on the record multiple times that he did no such thing.
That raises the question of whether Jackson signed the FHA agreement despite never intending to make the house his primary residence.
If he did, then Jackson supplied false information in order to obtain the FHA loan, which allowed him to use a smaller down payment for the purchase and get a lower interest rate for the loan.
According to the FBI, supplying false information about your intent to occupy a house acquired via an FHA loan is what’s known as occupancy fraud.
Per the FBI: “Occupancy fraud occurs when the borrower states on the application that they intend to live in the home they are buying when it’s actually an investment property.”
Jackson sold the Augusta house in Dec. 2021 for a healthy profit.