Tuesday, May 31, 2016

North Woods Lawless III: undercover warden accused of improprities in seven counties

Tomorrow, the Maine legislature's Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee is holding hearings on the accusations in "North Woods Lawless", the May 8 Maine Sunday Telegram investigation I wrote on a controversial Maine Warden Service undercover operation and dramatic raid in the remote northern Maine town of Allagash.

But in this week's Maine Sunday Telegram, I have this follow up story in which seven witnesses and two defense attorneys come forward with allegations of similar behavior in four more operations led by the same undercover warden, Bill Livezey, who conducted the Allagash operation. This is in addition to the events in Fryeburg a decade ago in which Livezey's conduct was parsed by a judge and in York County more recently, the subject of this story published May 13 by my Press Herald colleague Scott Dolan (with an assist from yours truly.)

That's a total of seven operations based in seven Maine counties (and the state of Pennsylavnia) in which Livezey is accused of similar misconduct.

You won't hear from critics at tomorrow's hearing; the legislators are calling only three witnesses: the chief warden, the warden's boss (the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Commissioner), and the person at the attorney general's office who is tasked with assisting in public records requests, Brenda Kielty, who features in a related controversy over the wardens' flouting of public records law during our reporting of this story. (On this, don't miss the entire Kafka-esque email chain, posted here.)

For more background on all of this, see my previous post, "North Woods Lawless II," encapsulating the complex events from May 8 to May 19. There's also this landing page for "North Woods Lawless" at the Press Herald.

[Update, 6/6/16: The hearing was, in the words of the Press Herald editorial board, a "sham."]

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