Monday, May 19, 2014

Maine: ex-tribal finance director pleads; last PUC commissioner recuses from Nestle Waters case

Two story updates from my desk at the Portland Press Herald.

Nestle Waters and the Public Utilities Commission: A week ago, I reported (but neglected to post here) and update on the conflict of interest bonanza at Maine's PUC, where all three commissioners and the official tasked with representing ratepayers before the body all have ties to Nestle Waters North America, which is seeking a controversial long-term contract to pump water from Fryeburg, Maine's (family-controlled) public water utility.

The new development: the last of the three commissioners has recused himself, following passage of a new law to allow the appointment of alternate commissioners in (hopefully rare) situations such as this one.

Charles Fourcloud -- the Indian of a thousand names -- pleads not guilty: Today I was up in Bangor and got to catch the arraignment hearing of the man known in Maine as Charles Fourcloud, who the Passamaquoddy tribe discovered was actually Arlyyn Knudsen, a convicted felon who'd help steal tens of millions from the Lakota Sioux, and has since bounced from Indian tribe to Indian tribe across the nation, taking top finance positions under various names. After being fired in Maine, he showed up at a remote tribe in California to apply for a job as "Leon Knudsen." He now faces up to 15 years in prison.

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