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Lawmakers to probe finances of Maine Veterans Homes after whistleblower report

The Maine Veterans Home in Caribou is one of two in the state that are set to close this spring, according to officials from the nonprofit chain of veterans care facilities.
Melissa Lizotte/Aroostook Republican
/
via the Bangor Daily News
The Maine Veterans Home in Caribou is one of two in the state that are set to close this spring, according to officials from the nonprofit chain of veterans care facilities.

The Legislature's Government Oversight Committee has launched a preliminary probe into the finances and accounting practices of Maine Veterans Homes. .

The surprise move directs the legislature's watchdog agency to explore a whistleblower's allegations about the finances of a state-chartered nonprofit that operates six veterans support homes across the state.

The committee's unanimous vote followed a brief presentation by Peter Schleck, director of the Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability, who indicated that the former employee had already been in contact with the watchdog agency.

Schleck also provided a letter from the law firm representing the Veterans Homes board of trustees indicating it too would investigate the former employee's claims.

The details of those claims have not been made public.

Last year, Maine Veterans Homes nearly closed locations in Caribou and Machias, citing financial difficulties.

It ultimately kept those locations open after the legislature and Gov. Janet Mills directed $3.5 million in state funds to the nonprofit.

Maine Veterans Homes also received $3 million in federal money for renovations and safety upgrades.

Journalist Steve Mistler is Maine Public’s chief politics and government correspondent. He is based at the State House.